Sunday, June 06, 2004

another "how to make good news sound bad"

I've spent a bunch of time poking into various conservative blogs and bboards, trying to figure out why anyone still actively supports Bush. I'm sure liberals have made all sorts of mistakes too - maybe some of them really do hope the war in Iraq goes badly for the US! - but as more and more of the smoke clears, the more creepy Bush and his cohorts seem. To me, anyway. The souvenir Saddam handgun, I guess you can forgive - I mean, he's got to keep up with the Cheney's, and Dick's souvenir piece of 9/11 debris. The stories that Cheney has been greasing the wheels for Haliburton contracts are still rumours. And perhaps there's a sound, reasonable legal reason Bush needs to consult a lawyer before he testifies to that grand jury investigating that CIA operative's "outing", even though he's said in public that he knows nothing about it. Sure, legal analysis say that this probably means he's hiding something, but law is so complicated, you never can be sure. Personally, I kinda dislike the way the campaign is being conducted so far - after all, why isn't Kerry allowed to change his mind over 26 years? Bush certainly does - but I guess if I was a registered GOP member I'd consider it all fair play.

But these are all pretty personal reactions, after all - this is America, after all, we're all entitled to our opinions, and people have all sorts of opinions, so I wasn't to surprised to see a recent CBS poll titled "CBS Poll: Vets Favor Bush" bandied about the blogsphere. The title sounds like bad news, to me anyway, but buried deep inside is the tidbit that the current vote choice of all registered voters is Kerry 49%, Bush 41%.

Interestingly, according to the poll, even vets - who tend historically to go Republican, and many of whom are still very bitter about Kerry's anti-war comments - aren't thrilled with Bush's performance on specifics. Less than half approve of his performance handling Iraq, or foreign policy. And a much large percentage than the general public think that "higher level military" should be help responsible for the prison abuse scandal (vs "soldiers involved" - I wonder what the response would be if "civilian military leadership" was one of the options?)

What bothers me about the poll is that a plurality of Americans (and of vets) believe the US should "turn control over to Iraqis now", which sounds like a recipe for disaster to me. Any way you slice it, it's a fiasco - even if Saddam had WMD, we certainly didn't find any. So, even if you believe Bush's claims from last year, said now WMD are cached in under a turkey farm somwhere, waiting to be dug god-knows-when by god-knows-who...this is better? But regardless of whether how we got there, the idea of a 25M person power vacuum in the Middle East is so clearly a bad idea that we've clearly got to stick around, until the country has some sort of effective government. I surprised we haven't seen more analysis of the links between the surge in anti-US violence in Iraq and the surge in anti-Western violence next door, in Saudi Arabia. They certainly seems to be a correlation, and it's not difficult to imagine a causal link here.