Sunday, August 25, 2013

THE ONLY WARS AMERICANS SEEM TO LIKE ARE WEDGE-ISSUE WARS

This doesn't surprise me:
Americans strongly oppose U.S. intervention in Syria's civil war and believe Washington should stay out of the conflict even if reports that Syria's government used deadly chemicals to attack civilians are confirmed, a Reuters/Ipsos poll says.

About 60 percent of Americans surveyed said the United States should not intervene in Syria's civil war, while just 9 percent thought President Barack Obama should act....

The Reuters/Ipsos poll, taken August 19-23, found that 25 percent of Americans would support U.S. intervention if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces used chemicals to attack civilians, while 46 percent would oppose it. That represented a decline in backing for U.S. action since August 13, when Reuters/Ipsos tracking polls found that 30.2 percent of Americans supported intervention in Syria if chemicals had been used, while 41.6 percent did not....
Republicans are much better at generating support for their wars, because they present them as titanic struggles against pure evil -- evil that encompasses not only the actual enemy but the weak-kneed quislings in the other party who oppose the use of force. So Republicans wars are always popular, at least at first -- Grenada was a hit for Reagan (though not as big a hit as some subsequent wars, because Reagan didn't have a chance to pound the war drums for months before invading). The Panama invasion was massively popular for Poppy Bush, and the Iraq wars, of course, caused both Bushes' poll ratings to skyrocket, at least for a while. Ditto for Bush the Younger and Afghanistan.

Intervention in the Balkans was actually fairly popular in 1999 for Bill Clinton (52%-36% approval, according to a New York Times/CBS poll). It might have been more popular if Clinton had pushed the "worse than Hitler" message as relentlessly as every Republican president since 1980 has, or could have played the "evildoer menace may reach our shores any day now" card, as the Republicans have also done. However, Clinton did have plenty of Republican opposition to deal with -- go here to read what the sandal-wearing hippies of the Republican Party were saying back then about how war isn't good for children and other living things.

Obama's decision to intervene in Libya? Not popular. And that's no surprise -- Obama didn't rhetorically attempt to turn anyone into Hitler, and opposition-party opinion was a muddle. (At least one individual opposition-party member, Newt Gingrich, couldn't decide whether he was pro- or anti-intervention, but he was sure of one thing: Obama sucks.)

And now we have Syria. Some Republicans and some Democrats want in; some Republicans and some Democrats want to stay out. Assad looks like a bad guy, but there's no focused worse-than-Hitler propaganda campaign against him, and no propaganda campaign to highlight one particular plucky band of opposition forces. (Remember the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan? Whatever happened to those guys?)

So anything the Obama administration does is bound to be unpopular. Pro-war propaganda just isn't Democrats' long suit.

8 comments:

duffandnonsense said...

By and large I agree with you - oh, for goodness sake, Steve, man up, we're bound to agree about something sometime!

However, I might quibble with your notion that Democrats don't do war propaganda very well. FDR, Truman, Kennedy and Johnson did Ok!

Victor said...

ZZZzzwhozzZZzzthezzzhell careszzzzzz...

Victor said...

I, for one, want us to stay the hell out of Syria, and Egypt, and as much of the rest of the goddamn Middle East as we possibly can.

We've done enough damage, already.
And, our PR over there, SUCKS - and for very good and clear reasons!!!
You don't make a lot of friends, dislocating populations, and killing, wounding, and maiming hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people.

And now, since we're using drones throughout the area, I'm sure their perception of us is that we're candy-assed cowards, who don't want to spoil our manicures by sending in troops and/or helicopters, and would rather rain down death, anonymously, from the sky.

duffandnonsense said...

Oh dear, this could cause mass hysteria amongst the readership of this fine blog but, Victor, my dear old thing, I agree with you, too! I know, shockin', shockin'!

Well, actually I don't agree with you *entirely*, for example, I think it is very much in American self interest to do whatever it takes to keep the canal open. Closure would have a shattering effect on the world economy which includes you! So, do be a good chap and encourage your hesitant president to do whatever it takes in Egypt but keep the hell out of Syria. Instead, urge the Israelis to do it for you, they're so much better at it than you are!

Victor said...

ZZzzwhoZZztheZzf*ckZzzcaresZzzzz...

ZZZZZZZzzzzzzZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

Philo Vaihinger said...

Let's just skip it, okay? Enough with all the damned wars.

Philo Vaihinger said...

Let somebody else worry about the canal. It's not like we are the only one's who use it.

Philo Vaihinger said...

And isn't worrying Egypt will actually close the canal a little like worrying Iran and Iraq will stop selling oil?

Phooey.