When President George W. Bush declared earlier this month that the only way to quell sectarian violence in Iraq was to send more than 20,000 additional American troops, he probably knew the move would be unpopular. Indeed, the latest NEWSWEEK poll finds that Bush’s call for a “surge” in troops is opposed by two-thirds (68 percent) of Americans and supported by only a quarter (26 percent). Almost half of all respondents (46 percent) want to see American troops pulled out “as soon as possible.”
Like me and most people I know Americans are clearly sick of the dissembling nonsense, they understand that the president couldn’t lead his way out of a paper bag and they’re tired of hearing him try to cover up his failures with half-assed excuses and blameshifting. The administration doesn’t have any credibility left.
Even so, 68% seems like an amazingly high number to me. Do that many Americans oppose the general idea of putting more boots in Iraq? I doubt it. The right sales pitch might even convince a loony leftist like me, if for example we need to temporarily up troop levels to make sure that a withdrawal happens safely. In the vast space between me and Hugh Hewitt there are undoubtedly many Americans who think that a decent leader could pull off a win and who wish sadly that we had one. Maybe I’m wrong about this, but I suspect that a decent fraction of that 68% comes from people who might have warmed to the idea if it didn’t have to be implemented by our discredited pinhead-in-chief.