Another U.S. soldier was killed yesterday in Iraq.
A lot of people wonder when the American public is going to get fed up with the death toll. I'm not holding my breath. I'm afraid that every attack on U.S. troops might be confirming Americans' sense that Iraq was a bad and dangerous place and that intervention was the right course of action. We're told that our troops are being attacked by Saddam loyalists -- it's possible that, for many Americans, this confirms the impression that Saddam's regime was a threat to us (never mind the fact that no Americans were being killed by Saddam loyalists in the period before the war). And since a large percentage of Americans believe the Bush administration lie that Iraq was in some way affiliated with al-Qaeda, surely they think that troops fighting Iraqi guerrillas are fighting to avenge 9/11.
In a way, I think opposition to a U.S. presence in Iraq might be more widespread if the U.S. actually were winning the peace. Imagine if U.S. soldiers were building shiny new schools in Sadr City and Fallujah while crumbling American schools were facing massive budget cuts. Imagine if the oil (and oil money) were flowing in Iraq while layoffs continued to spread across America. Ironies like that might make Americans wonder what the administration's priorities are.
It took a long time for people to start questioning why we were in Vietnam, even though we'd never been attacked by the Vietnamese. (I know, I know -- we've never been attacked by the Iraqis, either, but most Americans don't seem to grasp that.) Americans seem ready for a long, long war on terror -- and they think this is part of it. I do think they want to know why the administration can't seem to accomplish this particular mission -- can't seem to stabilize the country, set it on a course to democracy, and get the troops home. I don't know when, if ever, they'll really start to ask why we intervened in the first place.
UPDATE: Well, another U.S. soldier has been shot in Baghdad -- shot in the head while shopping for DVDs. It's a mess there.