|While George W. Bush's old Neocon gang members are out pushing the idea that Bush "won" the Iraq War, while Obama lost it, Bush is content to stay at home painting. As we see here, in an edgy bit of confessional art, Bush tells the simple, brutal, truth.|
As Woodward relates his conversation with Bush, in Plan of Attack (2004):
“It would be impossible to get the meaning right in the short run, the president said, adding he thought it would take about ten years to understand the impact and the true significance of the [Iraq] war. There will be cycles, I said. As Karl Rove believes, I reminded [Bush], all history gets measured by outcomes. Bush smiled. “History,” he said, shrugging, taking his hands out of his pockets, extending his arms out and suggesting with his body language that it was so far off. “We won’t know. We’ll all be dead.”Well, the ten years are up, and the American people are terribly clear now on “the impact and the true significance” of Bush’s war. For one thing, after Bush won reelection later in 2004, in the remaining years of his presidency, almost 3,000 more Americans would die in Iraq, and many thousands more would be permanently disabled from their wounds. And trillions of dollars were thrown at Iraq to turn it into a stable democracy—something it obviously is not and likely will never be.
Now Neocons are saying it is time to reinvade and have one more try at fixing Iraq. But the American people have had enough.
In a new New York Times poll, asked whether or not the Iraq War had been worth the costs (in lives and money), 75% of the respondents said Bush's war had not been worth it.
Unlike what Republicans might have hoped from the disastrous news of the last couple of weeks in Iraq, where a Sunni insurgency has easily swept away the hapless Iraqi national army forces (trained by Americans), and has gained control of much of western and northwestern Iraq, the American people say (by 50%-41%) that Obama’s decision to pull out all American troops in 2011 was the right thing to do.
Further, a big majority (57%-37%) of Americans now say that the United States has no responsibility at all to make sure Iraq has a stable democracy.
In spite of this, poll respondents said they supported Obama’s decision to send 300 advisors and US embassy defenders to Iraq, and that they also supported using drones to attack “militants”.
However, on the question of whether to send US ground troops back to fight once again in Iraq, the opposition runs basically in alignment with the numbers saying the Iraq War was not worth fighting in the first place. While 19% of respondents favor the US sending troops back to Iraq, 77% oppose such a policy.
And on that count, 85% of poll respondents said they had concerns that a US intervention in Iraq “would lead to a long and costly involvement there”—in other words, a longer and costlier involvement.
In fact, the poll respondents were so opposed to any further unilateral efforts by the US to save Iraq, they favored “the United States working with Iran…to try to resolve the situation in Iraq.”
In spite of this, and consistent with the general confusion on the part of Americans that has always surrounded the Iraq War, 80% of respondents said that what happens in Iraq is important to US interests. Yet, 57% of respondents said the situation in Iraq is “beyond the control of the United States.”
So, bottom line, the American people have concluded the Iraq War was a disaster for the United States, and has left an important US interest beyond the power or influence of the American government. The enormous failure this represents has to be blamed on somebody, and while the American people are generally disapproving of Barack Obama’s foreign policy, they are nevertheless supportive of the limited actions Obama has so far taken in respect to Iraq.
Further, poll respondents in the last few months are trending in support of Democrats in the fall congressional elections. Republicans are making no headway in convincing Americans that problems like the Iraq situation are to be blamed solely or mainly on Democrats.
If Republicans can gain no political traction in an environment where a Democratic president is struggling hopelessly against the impression of the people he is powerless to make things better, this suggests that the fall elections may not turn out as well as the GOP has been hoping.