As the U.S. “celebrates” the tenth anniversary of George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq, MPO Research Group (Washington) released a report today that finds two-thirds of the 57 percent of Americans who supported the attack during the war’s early stages still believe it was the right thing to do.
Despite widespread knowledge that the justification of the war -- Iraq had weapons of mass destruction -- turned out to be bogus, only a third of early war backers have since changed their minds. That distressing number illustrates the harmful nature of spin. It’s hard to un-spin spin, especially when it was presented by an authority figure like the president of the U.S.
MPO , which bases its reports on surveys from a national panel of more than 5,000 randomly selected people, reports that younger Americans (more gullible?) supported the war early and haven’t changed their minds. Proving wisdom comes with age, the 40-to-60 age bracket was the biggest opponent of the war. The group still views the invasion as wrong-headed.
The Iraq invasion cost the lives of 4,475 American service personnel, according to the Congressional Research Service. More than 32K Americans were wounded. Nearly 1,000 suffered amputations. Estimates of the number of Iraqis range from more than 100K (Associated Press) to 600K-plus (Lancet). What was gained? How does America benefit?
There was another Iraq-related report released today from the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, showing that $8B of the $60B allocated for the rebuilding of the country went down the rat hole. Inspector General Stuart Bowen called that number a “conservative estimate” of wasteful spending in Iraq.
Will that $8B number change anybody’s mind on the folly of going to war on based on false pretenses and pretending that everything has turned out just fine?
Doubt it. It’s easier to swallow spin than to spit it up.