A lot of delusional thinking got the United States into the war in Iraq. It’s a good idea to go back and see where we went wrong so we don’t repeat the same mistakes. In that spirit, let’s explore one instance of delusional thinking by Glenn Reynolds. Here
is what he said in March 2003:
This article says that Americans are likely to support the war more in response to casualties, as long as they think President Bush means to stick it out. That does seem to be what the polls are showing.
So Reynolds thinks Americans will support a war more in response to casualties “as long as they think President Bush means to stick it out,” but the article he cites says something very different. What the article actually says, as quoted by Reyonlds, is that Americans will support a war “as long as the casualties are incurred in pursuit of a mission they think is reasonable . . . [and] as long as the casualties don’t seem to be the result of carelessness or incompetence.”
If Reynolds could not see the difference in 2003, I hope real world events of the past three years help him see it now. Bush has made clear that he is willing to “stick it out.” He has said flatly that we will be in Iraq as long as he is president. Yet, contrary to Reynolds’ prediction, as more of our soldiers die, the public’s support for the war keeps falling. And support is falling for the reasons spelled out in the article Reynolds quoted but utterly failed to comprehend. After not finding any WMD’s, after finding no links to 9-11, after failing to install a liberal democracy, and after failing to install a stable, friendly regime of any kind, Americans don’t know what “the mission” is, much less do they think it is reasonable. On top of that, carelessness and incompetence are the hallmarks of the Bush administration.
Amazingly, an article that said Americans will support a war with a reasonable mission that is fought competently was twisted by Reynolds’ delusional thinking to mean that each time one of our troops dies, Americans will support the war more and more, as long as the president talks tough about sticking it out. This shows that people are susceptible to believing in NeoCon fantasies even when reality is staring them right in the face. Let’s try to keep this from happening again.
Update: Glenn Greenwald has more
on Glenny Reynolds' delusional thinking.