WaPo political columnist David Broder has been interviewing Ohioans. No one, except a few Democratic partisans, cares about the Libby indictment. No one wants to try to sort out who’s responsible for the post-Katrina suffering. It’s all about the war:
But the war is something else. The Republican friend, who is a true Bush loyalist, said he feared that Iraq is splitting this country in a fashion all too familiar from the days of the Vietnam War.
"The opponents of the war are increasingly vocal," he said, "and they want the troops out now, and to hell with the consequences."
But, he said, "I’m also hearing more voices on the other side saying: Let’s go in with guns blazing and win this thing, once and for all, so we can get out. People are saying, ’We’ve got to tell the Sunnis to clean out the insurgents -- or else.’ I’ve heard people say we ought to surround those Sunni villages where the fighters are hiding, give them 24 hours to get out and then level every building, so they can’t come back."
"What people can’t stand," he said, "is this unending story of two or three more Americans dying every day -- and nothing to show that the end is in sight."
Of course, Broder never suggests that shoddy, adversarial press coverage (there are, of course a few exceptions) is in large measure responsible for this version of the dominant Iraq storyline. Different press coverage (and I don’t mean cheerleading) would give a picture of the situation in Iraq more conducive to patience and perseverance.
Broder concedes that if in the next year GWB can resolve the Iraq situation in a way satisfactory to the press, "all the other issues confronting the administration at home and abroad probably become manageable."