Over the past two or three weeks, several polls have shown increased support for the war in Iraq. Now, we see that President Bush’s poll numbers are up.
- AP/IPSOS poll shows Bush’s favorability up to 31 percent in July from 28 in June
- CBS/NYT found that 42 percent now consider the war in Iraq “the right thing to do”
FoxNews.com a longer list of the small victories President Bush and the Pentagon have achieved in Iraq and with the public. It’s must reading, because it drives home the breadth and the depth of this growing support. Even Sen. Dick Durbin admits things in Baghdad are getting better.Two things to take away from this:Bush and the war are inexorably linked: Since we first went into Iraq in 2003, Bush’s success as a president has been linked to one outcome: the war. When all was well, his numbers went up. When he allowed the Pentagon to adopt a hunker down strategy, public perception was that we were losing. Now that we’re back on the offensive and the news is improving, so Bush’s numbers. There is a lag, but Bush’s numbers follow the war’s numbers.People always assume the aggressor is winning: I’ve made this point before, but it’s very important. Watch a boxing match and count the number of times the ring-side expert mentions “the aggressor” or “one the offensive.” That’s because boxing judges award points for scoring punches, not for dancing and dodging. Most of the time, the guy dodging ends up getting smacked. The aggressor usually wins. Sure, he can walk into a right hand and go down, but usually the aggressor wins. Because of this perception, when people hear the US is on the offense in Iraq, they perceive the US is winning.Stay on the offensive, Mr. President. Don’t let generals or Secretaries of Defense tell you it’s time to hunker down in the green zone. Listen to generals who’ve won wars, like Patton: “When in doubt, attack.” If the surge continues, if we continue to kill more of theirs than they kill of ours, if we take Sean Connery’s line from “The Untouchables*,” we will win in Iraq and in the minds of Americans. If we hunker down, we might win in Iraq, but you’ll never convince the people. If we pull out, you’ll go down in history as a loser.
* “If they come at you with a knife you use a gun on them, if they put one of ours in the hospital we put one of theirs in the morgue.”