The Politics of Quagmire

The Republicans’ loss is not necessarily the Democrats’ gain.

Issue: Sept-Oct 2006

In political terms, the war in Iraq seems to have followed what is now a familiar pattern in American history. A war initially undertaken in a remote location with a majority of the population's support and justified in sweeping and idealistic terms, turns into a frustrating military stalemate with continuing American casualties. Popular support for U.S. military intervention gradually but inexorably declines. The president who launched the war is politically damaged and finally paralyzed by the war's unpopularity. All of this happened, of course, to both Harry Truman in Korea and Lyndon Johnson in Vietnam; it appears to be happening to George W. Bush in Iraq.

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