FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The McCain Edge Among Voters on Iraq

Results of a recent Associated Press-Yahoo! News poll show that 39 percent of respondents think John McCain “would do a better job in Iraq” than Barack Obama. 33 percent think Obama would handle the war better. http://www.capitolhillblue.com/cont/node/8921\
Of course the wording of the question was skewed, as is so often the case. It makes the question of the war one of military competence, subtly positing that “a better job” should be done.  How would those polled respond to a differently worded question, along these lines:

“Who would be more likely to end this war that the former United Nations general secretary called ‘illegal,’ withdraw the troops as desired by the great majority of the Iraqi people, and abandon the Bush administration’s plans for permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq”?

The majority would almost surely go to Obama, since most people know that he opposed the war at the outset, and know that McCain’s comfortable keeping U.S. troops in Iraq 100 years.

But even if the AP-Yahoo question was a trick one, the response is troubling. This is the major issue facing the country, intimately connected to the issues of the ongoing war in Afghanistan (which isn’t going well) and the looming confrontation with Iran. But discourse surrounding it is tightly circumscribed by the politicians and press who want us to choose one of two interpretations: the war is either a noble cause, as McCain insists, or a “strategic blunder” as Obama avers. We’re not supposed to consider, much less dwell on the fact, that the U.S. has committed a crime of incalculable proportions by invading and inflicting chaos on what was once the most advanced sophisticated and secular of Arab states. If we did, we would disdainfully decline to answer AP’s cooked question.

Many have commented on the apparent anomaly of “antiwar” voters supporting McCain. Some seem blissfully unaware of his wholehearted support for the war, his “bomb-bomb-bomb Iran” position echoing that of his chief foreign policy advisor, the notorious neocon Norman Podhoretz who has praised McCain’s statement that “Islamo-fascism” is “the “transcendent issue of the 21st century.”  They are perhaps unaware that he is ignorant about Islam and has embarrassingly asserted in public that Iran is supporting al-Qaeda. (He stated that during a visit to Israel, and had to be corrected by his extreme-Zionist but somewhat more astute buddy Sen. Joseph Lieberman. Iran is hostile to al-Qaeda but supports Hizbollah and Hamas, which to McCain are part of an undifferentiated Muslim mass best dealt with by bombing, his own first career choice.)

We can blame ignorance for that 39% figure. But it’s created ignorance, a product of dishonest news coverage and a one-dimensional political culture. We live in an imperialist country, in which no one confessing that fundamental truth is allowed significant media access. The radical critic is occasionally allowed a forum, to spice up the offerings and perhaps salve the consciences of the editors and producers accountable to Time Warner, Disney, General Electric, Rupert Murdoch,  and Viacom who vaguely recall that the press is supposed to be “free.” But the hard cold truth is as unwelcome to mainstream journalism as news of declining market share. The point is not to speak truth to power but to speak such lies as service power while lending an aura of honest, multi-sided reportage to what is in fact and in essence an enterprise of abject apologetics. The mainstream media lobbies for the capitalist/imperialist system necessarily; it’s not on the outside objectively addressing it but on the inside propping it up.

And so yes, it belatedly, in response to the rising public awareness despite its efforts,  reveals some aspects of the lie campaign leading up to the Iraq War. But it can’t pronounce it criminal and integrate that rudimentary observation into the wording of its public opinion polls. So it asks: “Who will do a better job in Iraq?”

The job’s been done on us. We could do so much better. But I don’t see it happening without a real revolution.

GARY LEUPP is Professor of History at Tufts University, and Adjunct Professor of Religion. He is the author of Servants, Shophands and Laborers in in the Cities of Tokugawa Japan; Male Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan; and Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900. He is also a contributor to CounterPunch’s merciless chronicle of the wars on Iraq, Afghanistan and Yugoslavia, Imperial Crusades.

He can be reached at: gleupp@granite.tufts.edu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

Gary Leupp is Professor of History at Tufts University, and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Religion. He is the author of Servants, Shophands and Laborers in in the Cities of Tokugawa JapanMale Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan; and Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, (AK Press). He can be reached at: gleupp@tufts.edu

December 10, 2018
Jacques R. Pauwels
Foreign Interventions in Revolutionary Russia
Richard Klin
The Disasters of War
Katie Fite
Rebranding Bundy
Gary Olson
A Few Thoughts on Politics and Personal Identity
Patrick Cockburn
Brexit Britain’s Crisis of Self-Confidence Will Only End in Tears and Rising Nationalism
Andrew Moss
Undocumented Citizen
Dean Baker
Trump and China: Going With Patent Holders Against Workers
Lawrence Wittner
Reviving the Nuclear Disarmament Movement: a Practical Proposal
Dan Siegel
Thoughts on the 2018 Elections and Beyond
Thomas Knapp
Election 2020: I Can Smell the Dumpster Fires Already
Weekend Edition
December 07, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Steve Hendricks
What If We Just Buy Off Big Fossil Fuel? A Novel Plan to Mitigate the Climate Calamity
Jeffrey St. Clair
Cancer as Weapon: Poppy Bush’s Radioactive War on Iraq
Paul Street
The McCain and Bush Death Tours: Establishment Rituals in How to be a Proper Ruler
Jason Hirthler
Laws of the Jungle: The Free Market and the Continuity of Change
Ajamu Baraka
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70: Time to De-Colonize Human Rights!
Andrew Levine
Thoughts on Strategy for a Left Opposition
Jennifer Matsui
Dead of Night Redux: A Zombie Rises, A Spook Falls
Rob Urie
Degrowth: Toward a Green Revolution
Binoy Kampmark
The Bomb that Did Not Detonate: Julian Assange, Manafort and The Guardian
Robert Hunziker
The Deathly Insect Dilemma
Robert Fisk
Spare Me the American Tears for the Murder of Jamal Khashoggi
Joseph Natoli
Tribal Justice
Ron Jacobs
Getting Pushed Off the Capitalist Cliff
Macdonald Stainsby
Unist’ot’en Camp is Under Threat in Northern Canada
Senator Tom Harkin
Questions for Vice-President Bush on Posada Carriles
W. T. Whitney
Two Years and Colombia’s Peace Agreement is in Shreds
Ron Jacobs
Getting Pushed Off the Capitalist Cliff
Ramzy Baroud
The Conspiracy Against Refugees
David Rosen
The Swamp Stinks: Trump & Washington’s Rot
Raouf Halaby
Wall-to-Wall Whitewashing
Daniel Falcone
Noam Chomsky Turns 90
Dean Baker
An Inverted Bond Yield Curve: Is a Recession Coming?
Nick Pemberton
The Case For Chuck Mertz (Not Noam Chomsky) as America’s Leading Intellectual
Ralph Nader
New Book about Ethics and Whistleblowing for Engineers Affects Us All!
Dan Kovalik
The Return of the Nicaraguan Contras, and the Rise of the Pro-Contra Left
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Exposing the Crimes of the CIAs Fair-Haired Boy, Paul Kagame, and the Rwandan Patriotic Front
Jasmine Aguilera
Lessons From South of the Border
Manuel García, Jr.
A Formula for U.S. Election Outcomes
Sam Pizzigati
Drug Company Execs Make Millions Misleading Cancer Patients. Here’s One Way to Stop Them
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Agriculture as Wrong Turn
James McEnteer
And That’s The Way It Is: Essential Journalism Books of 2018
Chris Gilbert
Biplav’s Communist Party of Nepal on the Move: Dispatch by a Far-Flung Bolivarian
Judith Deutsch
Siloed Thinking, Climate, and Disposable People: COP 24 and Our Discontent
Jill Richardson
Republicans Don’t Want Your Vote to Count
John Feffer
‘Get Me Outta Here’: Trump Turns the G20 into the G19
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail