Michael: The Turning of the TideA USAToday poll indicates that 51% of Americans now believe the Bush Administration deliberately misled the public about whether Saddam Hhussein had WMD. 58% say that the U.S. will not be able to establish a stable, democratic government in Iraq. 32% say we can't win the war in Iraq, another 21% think we could win, but haven't the will or leadership to do so.
These polling results show two things clearly: the majority of people don't trust the Bush Administration on Iraq anymore and public confidence in Bush's handling of the Iraq war is in deepening decline. Yet despite this, Americans retain a fundamental optimism and support for the troops and the overall mission: asked whether it was a mistake to send troops to Iraq, an astounding 53% say it wasn't a mistake.
What does this tell us? Two things. Americans, rightly or wrongly, still tend to believe that good may yet come of this complete fiasco. Secondly, because of how poor Bush's record on this war is, we are going to see GOP leadership starting to go their own way in offering solutions to the problems of the mission in Iraq - especially those casting an eye toward 2008.
Such a questioning of orthodoxy and willingness to hold the Bush Administration accountable within the GOP can only be a positive development. It is the monolithic support for the Bush Administration, come what may, that is most responsible for the mess we are now in. You can't run a war by consensus, but neither can a war be won when the leader is a nincompoop and people follow him blindly into error.