Monday, April 14, 2008

Of Course Nobody Cares

Frank Rich hits the nail on the head:

The simple explanation for why we shun the war is that it has gone so badly. But another answer was provided in the hearings by Senator George Voinovich of Ohio, one of the growing number of Republican lawmakers who no longer bothers to hide his exasperation. He put his finger on the collective sense of shame (not to be confused with collective guilt) that has attended America’s Iraq project. “The truth of the matter,” Mr. Voinovich said, is that “we haven’t sacrificed one darn bit in this war, not one. Never been asked to pay for a dime, except for the people that we lost.”

This is how the war planners wanted it, of course. No new taxes, no draft, no photos of coffins, no inconveniences that might compel voters to ask tough questions. This strategy would have worked if the war had been the promised cakewalk. But now it has backfired. A home front that has not been asked to invest directly in a war, that has subcontracted it to a relatively small group of volunteers, can hardly be expected to feel it has a stake in the outcome five stalemated years on.

Why do you think people actually cared about other wars? The only thing my generation has gotten into a tizzy about regarding our current overseas occupations is whether there'd be a draft, and then you'd have every male under 30 running for Canada. I don't know anyone over there, except some vague recollections of people I went to high school with who ended up in the military...but I don't even know if they went to Iraq. Everything regarding this war is inchoate, including media coverage, so how can anyone really follow it without feeling there are personal consequences? Without some sort of personal connection, it's often very hard for people to care.

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