The Early Days of a Better Nation

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Other Shoes

The line change in Bush's speech was simply to drop all mention of a search for WMD, or any claim that there was an imminent threat. Now, Iraq is the front line of the War on Terror, where the enemy is being engaged in the rubble of other people's streets instead of America's.

This is a remarkable notion, really. It's not like getting people to fire RPGs at Humvees is going to deplete the pool of people willing to go on a 'martyrdom mission'. Think about what a few hundred, perhaps a few score, dedicated and competent people could do, if they were willing to die and take as many as possible with them. There's talk again about 'waiting for the other shoe to drop'. I can imagine off the top of my head enough 'other shoes' to fill Imelda Marcos's wardrobe. (As, I'm sure, can you.) An experienced guerilla fighter with a professional competence in civil engineering could think of a good deal more. We haven't seen systematic asymmetric warfare yet. If the endless war goes on, we'll see it.

I don't know how many Americans still believe that Iraq not only had WMD before the war but actually used them in the war, as a significant minority did quite recently. As it is, nearly seven out of ten believe it very likely that Saddam Hussein was implicated in the 9/11 attacks.

Now, call me an optimist, but I find this quite encouraging. If most Americans supported the war for the same reasons as sophisticated pro-war liberals do, let alone for the reasons the neocons do, I'd despair. But when support for a war is based on nothing more substantial than a complete lie, how strong can it be and how long can it last?


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