May 30, 2004
Instapundit has a great post about public opinion on Iraq, including a link to a poll question that got the following response:
30. When you hear about the continuing violent attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq, are you more likely to think the United States should be pulling troops our of Iraq or that the United States should be using more force to help stop the attacks by Iraqi insurgents?
1. Pull troops out 32%
2. Use more force 52
3. (Neither) 9
4. (Not sure) 7
He also notes that these numbers may explain Kerry’s sudden toughness.
Update: Mark Steyn shares my displeasure of people who were for the war before it began but lost their nerve as soon as the -gasp- shooting started. Steyn names names (mostly British journalists which I guess explains why my some of my British friends are surprised to learn that I’m still for the Iraq war) He writes about Kerry and the aforementioned public opinion on strength:
And evidently John Kerry’s internal polling is telling him the same thing. Hence, his speech in Seattle on Friday: “This country is united in its determination to destroy you,” he told the terrorists. “As commander in chief, I will bring the full force of our nation’s power to bear on finding and crushing your networks. We will use every available resource to destroy you.” Winning the Presidency isn’t like winning the Palme d’Or, and Kerry, the ne plus ultra of weathervane politicians, seems to have figured there aren’t enough votes in sounding like Michael Moore, Howard Dean or even Al Gore. With an eye to her own political viability, Hillary Clinton the other day demanded an expansion of the army.
Does Kerry mean it? Probably not. The tough talk’s a cover for what would be a return to the ineffectual reactive national-security policy of the 1990s – “I have here a piece of paper from Kim Jong-Il,” etc. If the media manage to drag the Senator, a very weak candidate, over the finishing line, it will be seen as a humiliating verdict on Bush’s war. There will be no stomach for further neo-con adventuring. The House of Saud can relax and resume its buying off of al-Qaeda. Pakistan’s ISI can get rid of General Musharraf. The IAEA can go back to sleep and let Iran get on with its nuclear programme. And, after months and months of experts telling them that they didn’t have enough troops in Iraq, Washington will realise all the extra troops they needed are sitting around twiddling their thumbs in Europe, guarding against enemies who no longer exist on behalf of allies who are no longer allies.
Such a world would be a more dangerous place, but not necessarily for Americans. It is Europe that’s closer and more vulnerable to terrorists, dysfunctional states and other enemies. That is why I’m a relatively relaxed hawk. The US may be forced to suffer the perception of defeat, but it is Europe that will live with the consequences. Be careful what you wish for.