Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 24, 2003
By: Kevin Drum

WAR WITH IRAN?....The other day I was mulling over the consequences of the Iraq war. Would neighboring countries like Iraq (or non-neighboring ones like North Korea) be more conciliatory now that we've shown a willingness to take tough action? Or would they conclude that they actually have a freer hand now because we're busy with Iraq and the American public wouldn't put up with another war so soon? (Not to mention the practical problems of whether we could mount another war anytime soon.)

And on a related note, what about that American public? Would they support another war in the near future? Or are we all a bit fidgety about trusting George Bush's claims since we haven't found that WMD he so confidently said was present in Iraq?

Today, I sort of get an answer from a Washington Post-ABC News poll:

President Bush last week said the rest of the world should join the United States in declaring that it "will not tolerate" nuclear weapons in Iran -- a vow that most Americans appear willing to back with force. By 56 percent to 38 percent, the public endorsed the use of the military to block Iran from developing nuclear arms.

The wording of the question doesn't provide a lot of context or depth, but it's still suggestive: if George Bush says Iran is building nuclear bombs, the American public appears ready to back him in another preemptive war.

The full poll results are here. There's nothing really new, but it's got a couple of interesting results:

  • 44% think American casualties have been unacceptable, up from 28% a couple of months ago.

  • 72% are concerned that we will get "bogged down in a long and costly peacekeeping mission."

Taken together, these two things don't bode well for our willingness to stick it out in Iraq. We seem willing to support war in the abstract, but rather less willing to support the necessary followup. That's a bad combination.

Kevin Drum 10:24 AM Permalink | Trackbacks

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