America’s undying faith in war

Why more favor war in Iran while support for the Afghan effort is dropping

Recent polls reveal a curious contrast between the public’s current feelings about America’s ongoing war in Afghanistan and the possibility of the nation adding another front to its list of military engagements, this one in Iran.

Though most Americans aren’t ready to cut and run, an increasing number are having second thoughts about U.S. involvement in Afghanistan. A Pew Research Center November poll finds 56 percent endorsing the initial decision to use force, down 8 percentage points since January. Similarly, a late September Pew poll found support among Americans for keeping troops in Afghanistan until the country is stable stood at 50 percent—a hefty seven-point drop since June. This despite the fact that fully three-in-four Americans see a Taliban takeover in Afghanistan as a major threat to U.S. well-being.

Yet even as enthusiasm for involvement in Afghanistan faded, an October Pew Research survey, found that by a substantial 61 percent to 24 percent margin, Americans said that it is more important to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons than to avoid a military conflict with that country. True, the survey also found hefty support for direct negotiations—but most Americans just don’t think they’ll work. And when faced with the choice between a nuclear-armed Iran and military action, most Americans choose conflict. [continued…]

Editor’s Comment — In one of the well-known Sufi stories about Mullah Nasruddin, the mullah has just returned from the market with a basket of red hot chili peppers. He is sitting in a room eating one after another and his mouth swells and his lips bleed and a student finds him and asks in bewilderment why the mullah is punishing himself. Nasruddin replies: “I keep on thinking that the next pepper will be sweet.”

Such is America’s triumph of hope over experience when it comes to contemplating the next war — the war which will vindicate this nation for all its earlier misadventures. This is the pathological shadow of the American can-do, optimistic spirit: faith in a future uncolored by the past.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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4 thoughts on “America’s undying faith in war

  1. DE Teodoru

    Since we escaped Stalin separately and miraculously reunited in Austria, my father dragged us half way around the world to what he insisted is “the Paradise of Freedom.” Yet look at the America the neocons have wrought: a declining empire that would send its patriotic sons to die needlessly for cheap oil to fill-er-up our SUVs through their “World War IV” against Islam. Their old Leninist tactic of POLARIZE TO MOBILIZE worked as middle aged Americans suffering from the “ain’t my kid going to war” disconnect syndrome push Obama into a totally political decision while our economy goes to China. For his decision for expanded war he will only get attacked as “not enough” and when it all fails they’ll say, in the words of neocons: what can you expect from a black man? In the end the neocons will be the first scapegoat victims for the mind set they promoted.

  2. Christopher Hoare

    Lotteries are said to be a tax on fools. By that standard, the only judgement one can have of polls are that they are the voices of fools.

    How can the American public become wise when they are lied to from cradle to grave? The news media are mere propaganda organs, the legislatures are corrupted by corporate money and are driven by the influence of lobbyists, the political parties have no vision beyond the next ‘payday’.

    When a whole nation hides its head from reality it’s asking a hell of a lot from the few to stand up and speak the truth. I admire those who act as the conscience of those who have none, but only in the way I admired Leonidas and the Spartans.

    Chris H.

  3. Chanchal Dutta

    Karzai goverment of Afganisthan has got no legitimacy. Why Barack Obama send tens of thousands more U.S. troops to fight a war in defense of one of the world’s most crooked,corrupt and discredited goverment. Common Afghanistanis want peace they don’t want a war that is imposed on them. Why victimising ordinary Americans,why Bush,Cheny,Clinto don’t go directly to the war field
    and fight with the Mujahidins.

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