Dispatches > The Buzz

Flashtraffic: War support strong

Despite words from Democrats to the contrary, national support of the war against Iraq is strong

Issue: "Beginning of the end," March 29, 2003

"Drop acid, not bombs." Other signs at a weekend anti-war rally in Washington included, "Bush needs Prozac," and "Don't mess with Mesopotamia."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who voted against the use of force, views such protests as evidence that "the case has not been made." But a flurry of new polls, including one by the Washington Post and ABC News, say it has:

71 percent of Americans support war with Iraq, up 12 points in less than a week.

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66 percent support war even without the second United Nations vote.

75 percent disapprove of the way the UN has handled the crisis with Iraq.

68 percent say President Bush's 48-hour ultimatum was correct. Only 28 percent say the president should have given Saddam more time.

"Daschle and Pelosi have become the Dixie Chicks of the U.S. Congress," quips GOP pollster John McLaughlin. "They're trying to politicize the war when the vast majority of Americans support the president and the troops and want the country to be unified."

Some Democrats worry their party could face a post-war backlash. Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the second-highest-ranking Democrat in the House, broke sharply with his party by defending President Bush's decision to go to war. "The United States and the nations of the world that are prepared to defend freedom must not be frozen into inaction by the international community's inability to marshal anything more than mere words," Rep. Hoyer told the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "Action in the face of defiance is required."

Rep. Martin Frost (D-Texas), who served as chairman of the House Democratic Caucus from 1999 until January 2003, warns that "it is very important that we remain united as a country as we approach the final showdown with Saddam Hussein.... As we move forward, I hope that our leaders-both in Congress and the administration-speak with one voice so that our allies and our foes around the world understand the resolve of the American people."

Even Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) cautions her colleagues: "At this critical juncture, it is important for all of us to come together in support of our troops and pray that, if war does occur, this mission is accomplished swiftly and decisively."

Joel C. Rosenberg
Joel C. Rosenberg

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