Tuesday, January 04, 2005

A couple of months after the Iraq War began, I put up this post; the second part of it refers to a then-current New York Times article by Robin Toner that quoted a number of high school students taking a class in leadership:

Several students said they thought that the Iraq war was much more like World War II, a war with a clear rationale waged by a country intent on defending itself, reflecting the effectiveness of the Bush administration's case for going to war.

"We actually got attacked," a student, Jessica Cowman, said. "In Vietnam, it wasn't an attack on us. We got hit in World War II, at Pearl Harbor, and we got hit in New York and at the Pentagon. It wasn't like that with Vietnam."

Another student, Stephanie Isberg, said: "People are more personally affected, especially by 9/11. My uncle almost died. So I have a more positive viewpoint about going in and taking out terrorists than I probably would have if nothing had happened."

I assumed Toner's assessment of what the students said was accurate, so I wrote that the students had clearly been taken in by "Bush's Great Deception" (Saddam = Osama). But one of those students has now written to say that that's not the case:

All objections to the president's politics aside, I would like to point out that our comments were on our views of the military and how they might have changed since Vietnam. We were not arguing for or against action in Iraq.... The article was published to show how young people's attitudes have changed towards the military. This did, at the time, include the government's decision to go into Iraq, but our comments were part of a discussion on the military in general.

If that's the case, then I guess Toner got it wrong and I got it wrong. I appreciate the clarification.

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