Thursday, August 30, 2007

Newsflash: War in Iraq is a balls-up

According to the Washington Post, a new report from the Government Accountability Office (not yet available on the GAO Website) finds that "Iraq has failed to meet all but three of 18 congressionally mandated benchmarks for political and military progress." The report stands in stark contrast to the blowing-sunshine-up-our-collective-asses version of events emanating from the White House. Of course, anybody who bothers to follow the news knows that the Bush administration's take on the ongoing occupation of Iraq reeks of well-ripened bullshit, but the GAO report adds a detailed, well-researched gloss on the increasingly obvious fiasco that is the U.S. intervention in Saddam Hussein's old bailiwick.

I'm increasingly astonished that anybody remains capable of supporting Bush's war. It's marginally understandable that administration apparatchik's remain wedded to their little overseas adventure--it's hard to admit that you've pissed away lives and money in a fruitless cause--but why do some members of the public-at-large remain in cheerleader mode? It's not like they bear responsibility for the bad choices made by the clowns in Washington.

I suspect the continued support for the war (and for other bad policies of various and sundry politicians) is a manifestation of tribal behavior. People tend to identify themselves as members of groups and to adopt the trappings of the groups with which they've affiliated. I think that's why some of the folks we all know seem to become stereotypes of themselves over time, adopting a whole package of values and attitudes as if they've signed up for a premium cable TV deal. In the case of a lot of war supporters, I'm not convinced that they actually believe the occupation of Iraq is a good idea; they've just accepted a figurative membership card with the group that's gung-ho for putting boots on the ground, so they adopt that position to be good members of the tribe.

I'd like to think the new GAO report will help to shake that tribal conviction. We'll just have to wait and see.



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