Lee Harris has an interesting piece about the "The War of Images" over at Tech Central Station. A snippet:
The enemy's compelling images show what we are fighting against in Iraq; but there are no equally compelling images that show us what we are fighting for—an "image gap" that is already causing many well wishers of the administration to question a policy in which we are endlessly willing to help a people who refuses to offer us even a single image of themselves caught in the act of displaying friendliness toward us—a people who, on the contrary, take every photo opportunity given to them to show how much and how deeply they hate us; and who, when not given such an opportunity by us, are quite able to make one for themselves.
I'm not sure I agree with Harris' full analysis, but he raises a number of interesting points, and one thing is clear (whether you're for or against the war): The Bush administration has done a real botch job of the occupation of Iraq, and not simply because of conditions on the ground there.
It has failed to (literally) represent the occupation or justify its cause in ways that are convincing to most Americans. It may be that that simply can't be done. That, as Harris suggests, given the costs involved (in lives and money), the vast majority of Americans will not sign on to the mission of democratizing, liberalizing, etc., Iraq and/or the Middle East and/or the Central Asian Islamic world. Or, same thing, that whatever initial willingness to bear those burdens is wearing out fast as the costs become apparent.