Zarqawi Zapped, Public Partially Pleased


While the long-term effects of killing Zarqawi in terms of the on-the-ground realities in Iraq remain to be seen (but it's not looking too promising just yet) it has so far only given a small boost to domestic opinion about the war, says CNN:

A CNN poll released Monday…found 43 percent of respondents said the war is going either very or moderately well, up from 38 percent in a March poll.

Fifty-four percent said they still believe the war is going either very badly or moderately badly, down from 60 percent in March.

And 55 percent said they believe the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 was an error—a figure unchanged from an April survey.

NEXT: What Did You Think Those Tentacles Were For?

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  1. I’m happy to see him zapped, and it has the potential to improve security somewhat, but it doesn’t really address the civil war that’s going on. It’s sort of like putting out a house fire in the middle of a forest fire.

  2. Boy, Americans are sure wussies. If this war is going “very badly”, how the heck were WWII, Vietnam, and Korean going, with their tens or hundreds of thousands dead?

    It is nice to see some momentum (particularly in the media) back on our side. We WILL get this done, for the price of a few thousand American lives, a few tens of thousands of non-American lives, a mountain of treasure, and ten years of bickering. You can argue whether this is going to be worth it or not, but before you do, ask yourself the following questions: how much are the free and democratic nations of Japan, Germany, S. Korea, etc worth? Does that value justify the blood and treasure we paid to create them?

    Probably the most irksome thing about the whole Iraq debate is the absurdly short-term thinking I see. For Christ’s sake, it took DECADES for Japan and S. Korea to transform themselves into true democracies. Trying to judge this after three years is far too soon. History will ultimately be the judge, but the war isn’t history yet.

  3. Boy, Americans are sure wussies. If this war is going “very badly”, how the heck were WWII, Vietnam, and Korean going, with their tens or hundreds of thousands dead?

    Yeah, the US had a more meaningful commitment to those conflicts, didn’t it?

    Maybe because they were juster wars.

  4. Chad-

    Shouldn’t we be extremely reluctant to let the government embark on a program that will take decades to yield results?

    Suppose somebody told you that Social Security can work just peachy, it will just take a few more decades to fine-tune it…

  5. Chad:

    It also took 11 years to turn the US into a functioning republic, starting in 1776: 5 years of all out war with the then reigning world superpower, followed by 6 more years until we finally adopted a Constitution that lasted – after a whole lot of bickering and at least one false start (the Articles of Confederation). We ought to give the Iraqis at least that much time before concluding they can’t do something similar in their part of the world.

  6. Editorial correction:

    1789, not 1787….make that 13 years! –MarkV

  7. “Americans are such wussies.”

    So Chad, which platoon are you fighting in over there?

  8. Americans are sure wussies

    I disagree. You guys are pretty tough and you have cool tanks and kickass lasers.

    But you SUCK at football!!

    3 nil people! Czechs gave you a little lesson in the art of ‘soccer’.

    Nedved baby. Nedved.

  9. Hey Chad So you believe this drivel you wrote?
    “Maybe because they were juster wars.”

    What the hell do you know about any kind of war. You don’t have a freaking clue.

    to Midbrowcrisis: where the hell did you fight? If you haven’t served then you have no credibility in critizing anyone. Asshole

    And yes I did serve. 5years in the Marines – Vietnam

  10. Chad, you talk as though the real reason for attacking and invading Iraq was to bring democracy to the poor Iraqis, but that was an afterthought. Remember the WMDs? They–together with a strongly implied link between Iraq and 9/11–were the original raison d’etre of the whole adventure. When no WMDs were discovered and even the dimmist Americans began to question the link between Iraq and 9/11, Bush started crowing about bringing democracy to the Middle East (forget Saudi Arabia.)So what’s the real reason? Some simple-minded souls think Israel is behind it (they probably think Israel somehow plotted all their personal failures, too). Whatever the reason, it can’t be a burning desire to bring democracy and freedom to the Iraqis. Securing oil resources, maybe? Establishing a long-term military presence in a strategic area?

  11. to Midbrowcrisis: where the hell did you fight? If you haven’t served then you have no credibility in critizing anyone. Asshole

    John D,
    If that’s true, then you should probably have a few words with the Republicans that didn’t serve that criticized John Kerry.

    Serving or not serving doesn’t give you the right to criticize military policy. This America, not Starship Troopers.

    And how is Iraq anywhere near as just as WWII. We were attacked by Japan and the Germans declared war on us. Iraq neither attacked us nor declared war on us.

  12. Are Japan and Germany in World War 2 parallel to the Iraq war? I have my doubts. The Nazi’s mainly fabricated a folk religion that wasn’t even fully believed by most of the population. And they used this to justify their aggression and later attrocities. The right wing in Japan also resurrected something a folk religion there, perhaps more widely accepted than the Nazi religion, but still something not as deeply rooted as fundamentalistic Islam is in the Middle East. So, after these wars were lost, both Japan and Germany did not have much problem dispatching these folk religions, which they did quite quickly, and getting on with their lives.

    But what about Iraq? Does anyone realistically think that fundamentalistic Islam is just going to go away in a few years because we have installed a ‘democracy’ there? Is there any evidence at all that jihad is on the decline, that the concept of the suicide bomber is dying out? I don’t see it. If anything it appears we are attracting more young men to the party faithful. Islam is a centuries old religion, deeply rooted in the culture, and deeply ingrained in the people’s sense of identity. It’s more likely we are turning idealistic young men towards the fundamentalistic strains of Islam than away from it with our aggression. But the Bush team and their troubadors engage in magical thinking when they say that since now that there’s democracy and a constitution all is well. Notice that in the Iraqi Constitution the first thing mentioned is that Iraq is an Islamic nation and all law is in reference to Islamic Law. So, which laws do you think will win out when in conflict – laws that protect people’s liberties or Islamic Law? And how about when more conservative elements get elected to parliament. Doesn’t it seem likely they will try to turn the country towards extremism? After all, it’s a democracy. They can just vote in extemist measures. And this is what our boys and girls and their civilians died for?

    Btw, in the case of Germany, it’s debatable whether it was a noble cause. The Soviet Union went on to enslave a whole continent and throw tens of millions of people into their gulags. And basically Roosevelt squeezed Japan until she popped.

    But anyway, if you think it’s a noble cause, I guess no one’s stopping you from signing up, volunteering for other duties in Iraq, or handing out 3 quarters of your paycheck every month to support it (if it takes decades to get this done, then be prepared to shill out the bulk of your paycheck from your own pocketbook if you think it’s so noble).

  13. John D,
    Inadvertantly, you actually reaffirm the point I was trying to make. There’s all these Republicans and neoconservative writers who have a masturbatory, jr. high fascination with war, yet who have never served themselves. Then they go around and accuse people like John Murtha of being cowards or wussies. Interestingly, the president with the most military service behind him was also the most restrained when it came to using our military forces. It might be cowardly not to fight in a cause you believe in but it is called humanitarian restraint when you are cautious or critical of sending “other” people to die for a cause you believe in. And it’s certainly not brave to die for a cause you don’t believe in – it’s stupid.

    My father ran into a guy like you in the locker room after the Iraqi invasion. My father, who did serve himself in the military, was accused of cowardice for not wanting other people to die in a needless cause. The other guy, a young man, wanted to fight an old man over his disagreement. Oh, that’s really brave all right. So, I’m not at all impressed with your chest thumping and self congratulatory bravado. I think it’s much more heroic the efforts people put into creating things of real value to people, to committing themselves to just causes, to working hard all their lives so their children can get a good education than it is to kill a lot of people in ill-conceived or unjust wars.

  14. midbrow,

    I think I know that guy that was trying to fight your dad in the locker room. I think his name is John Straw…something. He shows up here frequently, be sure to give him a piece of your mind.

  15. Iraq could go back to being the Garden of Eden, and, around election time, voters will ask themselves if it was worth it.
    How could it have been worth it?

  16. Mark,

    Three, nil indeed. But Nedved didn’t score jack. It was Rosicky and that bald giant with the sketchy hamstring.

  17. But you SUCK at football!!

    We suck at curling too. And cricket.

  18. So, after these wars were lost, both Japan and Germany did not have much problem dispatching these folk religions, which they did quite quickly, and getting on with their lives.

    It also had something to do with the fact that both nations were forced to unconditionally surrender after being completely whipped on the battlefield.

    That kind of national trauma sets the stage for changeovers in national culture in a way that the carefully calibrated displacement of an existing regime does not.

    For better or worse, we no longer wage total war, and so we can expect post-war “reconstruction” will be much more difficult.

  19. Hey Chewy,

    Well, Nedved might not have scored but he ran the show – pitch perfect pass for Rosicky’s second. Plus, he did all this while looking like Patrick Swayze.

    You guys should stop worrying about Iraq. The world cup is on and all is well.

    Spain are playing at the moment. Two up. Villa and Alonso. Boy, I hate the spanish but it looks like the Deigos might have turned up to the tournament.

    I don’t know what coverage is like in the USA but you can listen to it on the BBC website if you want.

  20. Middlebrow and JohnD

    The majority of the people who have served in Iraq, including myself, support the war. So what? JohnD didn’t even make a substantive point, he just threw around some obsenities and said basically “I was once in the marines, therefore you are wrong”. It would be one thing if he said “I was in the Iraq and its fucked up and we shouldn’t have gone there and here is how.” That is at least a fair argument based on actual experience. That is not what he said.

    So what if he served in the Marines. Unless you have actually been to Iraq, then you don’t have any specialized knowledge of the subject and even that knowledge fades pretty fast. What I know about Iraq is now almost three years old. More importantly, there is something really insidious about the whole “you have never served” argument. Last I checked the United States was not a bannana republic junta. Civilians control the military and the military is considered anything but infallable. Is the rule now that no one who has not served in the military can ever have an opinion on the war? Is that what people really want? How exactly do you plan to maintain control over the military if that is the rule? Of course you don’t believe that. You beleive that anyone who agrees with the war should not be allowed to have an opinion that you might have to intelligently respond to. It is just so easy to say, you never served so shut up.

  21. Mark,

    I’ve got it on Univision in the background (no cable, but I think it’s on ESPN2). I’m getting to learn Spanish to boot. Apparently gol means goal, pronounced similarly, but in a much more extended fashion.

    Saudis/Tunisia next, hopefully the female saudi fans will strip out of their burkas in the German heat.

  22. I find it incredible there is still support for this insane war. And as midbrow pointed out, it isn’t likely they are going to end up without a theocracy over there. Maybe it will even take less than a decade to get a full theocracy. If it seems like religious or ethnic minorities were in trouble under Saddam, let’s see what happens when a theocracy is in place. Patience is one thing, lack of any sort of realistic understanding of a region is another.

    As for some of the other comments: last time I checked we don’t live in a military dictatorship, we live in a democracy, so serving in the military, however brave that might be, does not give someone more of a right than anyone else to speak their mind. At least on the blogosphere.

    Having said that, I also don’t think WW2 compares to Gulf 2. They were expanding their territory, aggressively, wanting to conquer most of Europe, and they were committing attrocities against the Jews.

    Finally, what’s so brave about putting a little ball into a little net. Soccer, uh, ‘football’ is for wussies. 🙂

    “Now, Ultimate Frisbee, there’s your man’s game…” Dwight Eisenhower

    (midbrow, is that the President you were referring to?)

  23. I think “the war” is going fairly well, in terms of the military kicking bad guys’ asses. Their control of the country is probably better than it was six months ago.

    The problem is, that war doesn’t seem to be getting us any closer to what has been defined as success. We’re trying to use military means to effect a political solution.

  24. Chad,

    “If this war is going “very badly”, how the heck were WWII, Vietnam, and Korean going, with their tens or hundreds of thousands dead?”

    The anti-Americanism of the hawks displays itself like this – they can’t bear the thought that their project’s massive unpopularity is the result of considered opinions about its likely outcomes and effects, so they proclaim us to be a degenerate people without honor or commitment.

    It’s all the p0rn, corn syrup, and reality television. Back before those things, Americans weren’t wussies. On behalf of Americans, screw you Chad.

  25. Chill out, everyone. I think this line of argument has some legs…

    “If you haven’t been a pregnant teen, you have no credibility on the topic of abortion.”

    “If you haven’t been on Death Row, you have no credibility on the topic of captial punishment.”

  26. Hey – regulars have used that exact argument:

    “so and so has actually been on the ground there, so what he says is credible”

    And, as we saw yesterday, Mr. Bailey (and others) seem to feel that capital punishment is revenge, and there’s a strong emotional component. This argument from pathos: painless death for the convicted murderer is much better than what he did to the victim.

    Be careful when emotion and revenge get in the way: you lose credibility

    Mark – despite its flaws, ESPN is doing fine with coverage. The worst two commentary teams are a team of brits and a team of americans pretending to be brits. (Smyth is the name of one of them)

    Brit commentators are slightly worse than Danish ones and are the absolute worst ones, IMO. So, I don’t think anybody would prefer more brit commentary.

    And most people who aren’t paid who know a little about soccer didn’t give the US a chance. Better than in 1990 against Czechoslovakia, however. Grin. And some morons actually believed the FIFA rankings! Look at the odds instead – there someone has something to lost 🙂

  27. Apparently gol means goal, pronounced similarly, but in a much more extended fashion.

    And much more often.

  28. VM,

    Saying you have been there is different than saying you have served. Actually having seen a place and been part of something does give you some knowledge of the topic, although not absolute knowledge or authority. On a topic as complex as a war, no one besides God has absolute knowledge or authority. Just because you were in the military at one point in your life is not the same as having actually been to Iraq. The military part is incidental. You could be a contractor or a state department guy and still have something credible to say about the situation. Holding up a guy like Murtha who, yes did serve in Vietnam but spent the rest of his career doing two week a year tours in the reserves and has never been to the Middle-east much less Iraq as some kind of special authority is just bullshit.

  29. “is that (Eisenhower) the President you were referring to?”

    You are correct, sir. He showed remarkable restraint in comparison to Presidents who had not served or served much less time. But I think it was Patton who made the comment about (pen)Ultimate Frisbee.

    As for Murtha, my point was not that he’s some kind of expert because he served but simply that he ain’t no coward and his reasons for objecting to the war had nothing to do with cowardice, as some of the conservatives who didn’t serve (like that congresswoman) implied.

    We’re still ‘kicking a lot of ass’ over in Iraq but I doubt this is putting much of dent in fundamentalistic and militaristic Islam, which only seems to be attracting new recruits as a result of our efforts. Don’t be surprised if in 10 years Iraq looks remarkably similar to Iran.

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