Thursday, January 16, 2003

Y'know, when Steven Den Beste accuses someone of lying, he might want to actually catch them out in a lie:

The ad ends with the message: "Maybe that's why the overwhelming majority of Americans say to President Bush: Let the inspections work."

The overwhelming majority, eh? Could have fooled me; I sure see no such groundswell of opinion. And their contention sure isn't supported by the latest polls. Various polls have found the following:

More than half, 56 percent, said they support using ground troops against Iraq, according to a CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll. Six in 10 in the ABC poll oppose using ground troops against North Korea.

Just over half in the Gallup poll said the situation in Iraq is worth going to war over, while about four in 10 said it is not. A fourth in that poll said the situation with Iraq's weapons capabilities is a crisis, while more than half agreed with the description of it as a "major problem."

In fact, polls have consistently shown a majority of Americans in favor of direct military action in Iraq. Many of those want the military action to take place with UN approval, but that's not the same as saying that they want UN inspections to replace military action. The level of support for military action in Iraq has varied over the last year, but it has always been an absolute majority.
Let's open up that "many want the military action to take place with UN approval." The "many" is indeed the vast majority; the polls (no link, but there was no link in the quoted entry, either; disturbing considering the possible problems with that "ground troops" question) have consistently shown that the "overwhelming majority" of Americans have been reluctant to go to war unless the U.N. was clearly on board. That distinction that Steven makes is absolutely false, however, as the entire point of the inspections is to determine whether or not the U.N. sees the need to give that approval in the first place! So where, pray tell, is this distinction? The only possible way Steven's interpretation makes sense is if the inspections are just a pretense to "keep those foreign idiots happy", and I doubt this is what the American citizenry means when they say that the U.N. should be on board... I'm absolutely sure that that isn't how the U.N. sees things.

In that light, how on earth is that ad lying? The support of the American citizenry is conditional on the U.N. supporting the invasion. The support of the U.N. is conditional on the clear (aka "smoking gun") non-compliance of Iraq with the inspection and disarmament regime. Therefore, the support of the American citizenry is conditional on the (real, not America-forced) failure of inspections. Indirect, sure, but simple enough to understand. Except, maybe, for Steven Den Beste.

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