Domestic anti-war sentiment is lessening as the war progresses. According to a radio report I caught today, polls showed around 67% support for military action in Iraq two days ago. But by this afternoon, that figure had risen to 77%. So 10% of people feel better about invasion now that it’s begun. There are a lot of reasons for this I can see — U.S. forces seem to be doing a good job of keeping civilian injuries very low, and we’re hearing more about Iraqis dancing in the streets to celebrate their liberation from Saddam. Here’s the bit (UPI) that really made me sit up:
A group of American anti-war demonstrators who came to Iraq with Japanese human shield volunteers made it across the border today with 14 hours of uncensored video, all shot without Iraqi government minders present. Kenneth Joseph, a young American pastor with the Assyrian Church of the East, told UPI the trip “had shocked me back to reality.” Some of the Iraqis he interviewed on camera “told me they would commit suicide if American bombing didn’t start. They were willing to see their homes demolished to gain their freedom from Saddam’s bloody tyranny. They convinced me that Saddam was a monster the likes of which the world had not seen since Stalin and Hitler. He and his sons are sick sadists. Their tales of slow torture and killing made me ill, such as people put in a huge shredder for plastic products, feet first so they could hear their screams as bodies got chewed up from foot to head.”
The liberation angle was not part of the discussion for most of the months leading up to war. Bush talked about WMD and disarmament, terrorism, etc. He only started playing the liberation card late in the game. And when it did come up, the left would respond that Iraqis had not requested U.S. or U.N. assistance in dealing with Saddam. But now that it’s clear that Iraqis welcome U.S. soldiers, the right gets to take credit for liberation, while the left has to deal with the fact that we’ve been actively resisting efforts to take out a brutal dictator, even if for good reasons.
It was during the 2nd SF protest that I first began to ask myself just how brutal a dictator Saddam would have to be for me (and others on the left) to become convinced that this might be a just war after all. Have your sentiments about this war changed since it began?