Three Out of Four Elements Agree (2001)
A new Gallup poll finds that roughly 2 in 3 Americans urge a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, with 31% wanting this to start immediately.
Gallup's director, Frank Newport, sums up the results today: "Taken together, it is perhaps fair to say that a significant majority of Americans would like the United States to either withdraw troops from Iraq or make specific plans to do so, although there is no majority demand that troops be withdrawn immediately."
The poll was unusual in that rather than give respondents a list of options, it allowed them to respond in their own words. Gallup then grouped the varied responses and labelled them with a common theme.
Results showed that almost 1 in 3 want to "pull the troops out and come home," as soon as possible. About the same number seem to wish for a gradual pullout. The remaining one-third back the present course or want to "finish what we started."
A grinding and unpopular war in Iraq, a growing insurgency in Afghanistan, an impasse over Iran's nuclear ambitions, brewing war between Israel and the Palestinians -- the litany of global crises would test the fortitude of any president, let alone a second-termer with an approval rating mired in Warren Harding territory. And there's no relief in sight.
No relief in sight for any of us -- unless Congress can be reconfigured come November. Make no mistake. The upcoming election is not about gay marriage, flag burning, immigration, or other red meat distractions. It's all about Bush -- his litany of failed policies, his record of corrupt cronyism, his dossier of massive incompetence. If you want to "stay the course" and string our nation out with perpetual wars -- whether based on Neocon militaristic delusions, or on class warfare rewarding the mega-rich, or on spiraling privacy invasions from an imperial presidency -- then vote Republican. You'll help Bush continue to spend his capital -- and you'll be as richly rewarded as an ascetic. Less is more, remember? You'll have fewer loved ones and less money and less privacy.
Unless you're in the upper 1% and buds with our
But, you know, three out of four doesn't begin to scratch the surface. More like 1 out of 279. From the Center for American Progress:
In the fifth year of this business cycle [and, notes yr. blogger, the fifth year of the Bush Administration], the fortunes of CEOs and middle-class families pulled further apart. In 2005, the typical CEO received $11.6 million in total direct compensation-salaries, bonuses, restricted stock grants, gains from stock option exercises and other long-term incentive payouts. This constituted a 24 percent increase over the 2004 average of $9.3 million. This means that in 2005, the average CEO made 279 times the average pay of a production non-supervisory worker, the vast majority of America's private sector work force. This is up from 185 times in 2003 and 229 times in 2004.
So, are you better off? Well, are you...punk?
And, some days, life is worth living just to get up and have the honor of reading Digby over breakfast:
Our failure [in Iraq] is already certain no matter what we do. The fundamental flaw in this entire enterprise is not how we did it, although the massive failures outlined in this article are so obvious that it's imperative to discuss them on their own terms. In fact, I worry that what this failure of execution reveals is a military leadership so lacking in intellectual ability and so wracked with primitive racism that this country cannot count on it to actually defend us in case of a real war. The officer corps are supposed to be smart guys, not a bunch of idiots who would read some piece of trash like "The Arab Mind" and actually believe it --- much less use it as the basis for tactics on the ground. This is a dangerous situation for America.
However, the fundamental flaw remains the invasion itself, a bad decision from which everything else flows. The lesson is that an illegal, dishonest war of choice is doomed on its own terms. In the modern world outright conquest is impossible and anything else cannot be finessed with spin and wishful thinking.
That we compounded that error with a comic book understanding of the people we were "liberating" and a lack of postwar planning that was criminal in its negligence is just more evidence of the perfidy of this administration and its congressional enablers. But the central problem remains that it is not how we waged the war, it's that we waged it at all.
Oh, to have the number of that Muse...