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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

So, Was That Iraq Thing Really Worth It?

A recently-released NPR poll has a fascinating result that was not widely reported. Likely voters were asked whether: 1) the Iraq war was a success and was worth the cost in lives and dollars; 2) the Iraq war was a success but was not worth the cost; or 3) the Iraq war was not a success. The replies were split down the middle between boosters and doubters of the Iraq war. Forty-eight percent said the Iraq war was a succcess and worth the cost, while 48 percent said either that the war was a success, but not worth the cost (33 percent) or the war was not a success (15 percent).
This is more proof, if proof were needed, that Democrats should not be holding back in their criticisms of the Bush administration’s lies and deceptions on the WMDs. People are already wondering whether the Iraq war was worth its considerable costs (costs which continue to mount, of course). The Democrats’ job should be to add fuel to that fire. Don’t make Bob Graham, God bless him, do all the work. Every Democrat should be out there hacking away (and Lord knows there’s enough material to hack with; see John Prados’ excellent recent run-down on TomPaine).
But just raising doubts about Bush’s approach isn’t enough, of course. As Michael Tomasky astutely points out in The American Prospect online, Democrats need to provide a solid alternative to that approach. Many Americans are indeed wondering whether the Iraq war was worth the cost, but they’re also wondering what would be worth the cost. How can we round up the bad guys and make American safer? DR suggests we all put on our thinking caps about that one.