In the lead-up to the Iraq War, Bush and Cheney predicted a number of things: that we would be greeted as liberators, that casualties would be minimal, that Iraqi oil would pay for the rebuilding effort, and that the beauty of democracy would unfurl across the region with all the infectious rippling of an e-mail virus.
Skeptics of this plan--those who one might in retrospect be called reasonable, thoughtful, correct, but who were at the time called soft, anti-troops and un-American--predicted that the war would be long and deadly, that the entire region could destabilize, that Iraqis would decry what they would consider to be our occupation, that Iran would be empowered, that elections would result in frightening theocracies, and that our troops would be caught in the middle of a religious civil war that would engulf Iraq, and get in the way of all the flowers and candies they're trying to throw our way in thanks.
I don't need to tell you who turns out to be right. It's only shocking that the Party and the Administration that was so dreadfully, painfully, tragically wrong have as much popular support as they still do.
Also surprising is the news highlighted in Dan Froomkin's colummn (via Atrios) that the President now has no problem blithely admitting that at this point we're not fighting terrorists in the war; we're trying to do hold down a civil war from in the middle of it.
A majority wants American troops to start coming home soon. What unqualified support there is for the war seems to come from people who believe it is central front in the war on terror.
But how will people feel about our troops being sent into the crossfire between rival Muslim sects? That is not the war anyone signed up to fight.
[National security advisor Stephen] Hadley explained...
"You've now seen the emergence of death squads and armed groups on right and left, and they're doing great damage to the civilian population. That's really what is new. It's something that we've seen occur since February, and it is a new challenge. This isn't about insurgency, this isn't about terror, this is about sectarian violence."