Why the Iraq War is a Loosing Issue
The other day I was running a bunch of errands around town and as I was driving around, I clicked on the am radio dial, which I find very entertaining waiting at stoplights and in traffic. Much to my surprise, Sean Hannity, on of the current pretty-boys of the dial was actually interviewing John Kerry. Unfortunately, Hannity was myopically probing Kerry's thoughts about the war in Iraq and quite masterfully boxing Kerry into all the "right" corners. It was at that point that it occurred to me that unless the Democrats can successfully move the debate off of the war in Iraq, the domination of the right will be strengthened over the next four years as I believe the Democrats, regardless of who ultimately faces Bush in November will lose. Here is why I believe that Iraq is a loosing issue for the Democrats.
1. Iraq is not Vietnam.
No matter how hard the peace movement tries to draw the parallels between Iraq and Vietnam, evoking the ominous "quagmire" label, there is a powerful difference. Iraq was a county completely enfeebled by years of sanctions and then was attacked by a resolute U.S., military force, which sliced through to Baghdad, like a hot knife through butter. What we are now engaged in is the process of building a nation. Yes, we are building in the presence of some messy car bombs and sniper fire but we cannot deny that major hostilities are over. As much as liberal's choke on the thought, the U.S., in war terms, lost relatively few lives and the "mission accomplished" banner did have merit. It will increasingly sound stupider and stupider to compare Iraq with Vietnam and to continue to snipe the progress day-by-day will fast become a quagmire for Democrats. The am radio dial had a blast playing montages of sound-bites of democratic presidential nominees whining, "Where is Saddam?" What happens when we go 100 days without loosing an American life, say next August-October?
2. The Administration Controls the Media Message.
In case you have not figured it out yet, the major media networks and marching lock-step with the Administration's pro-war messaging. The slightest dissenting question -- let alone dissenting voice-- is banished to the back of the pressroom, if invited back at all. In addition to that, we have the same media giants reinforcing and persistent drumbeat through a wide range of media creations from Rush, to Sean, to Laura, to name a few, pumping out supporting talk radio, bestseller print publications and websites. I am sorry but the same 300,000 people support Mother Jones, Salon and the Nation Magazine and that is hardly a true accessible alternative to the media control.
3. There Administration Controls the Information Spigot
While at first glance this might appear to be an extension of media control, and it is, controlling information is an even more powerful weapon of this administration. It is increasingly clear that little if any damning information leaks out of this administration but despite the best efforts, to crack the code to the information bank, the only knowable information about this war is information that this Administration chooses to release. Democrats will waste a lot of energy if we get stuck chasing information between now and next November.
4. There is Little Compelling Evidence that the Majority is Anti-War
It is inevitable that true progress, media control and information control are producing support for the Administration's policies in Iraq. It is amazing that just when the numbers appear to be tipping the scale towards the anti-war side, some dramatic incident propels the statistics back into the 60-70% support range.
Was the war in Iraq wrong? It was wrong and still is wrong. But our convictions of the war being wrong along with $1.50, will buy you a cup of organic shade-grown coffee at Stumptown but it won't result in regime change next November. What we need now is a realistic and compelling vision of where will we go from here and I would love to here the democratic hopefuls start talking coherently about tomorrow rather than defending our rightness last January when we were on the streets protesting the impending war.