Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Redefining Iraq, Part Umpteen

President Bush is redfining the US mission in Iraq to conform to his strength in political polls at home.

This isn't the first time President Bush has redefined the mission in Iraq. Think Progress has a list of several "defining moments" from the White House's own archives showing when President Bush redefined the mission before.

Speaking to an audience at Fort Bragg -- and televised live across the nation -- the President laid out a sales pitch for his policy in Iraq on the first anniversary of the Coalition Provisional Authority turning over the reigns to Iraqis.

The fight President Bush once defined as against a "grave and growing danger" posed by Iraq possessing WMDs, is now a fight against terrorism.

Playing to Peoria

President Bush's new message attempts to take advantage of his greatest polling positives -- the war on terror. The latest polls in the media obviously reflect what his own polling is telling him -- he's losing public support for his Iraq policy but people still think he's doing OK in the fight against terror.

The latest USAToday/CNN/Gallup poll just this week showed only one in three Americans believed the US was winning the Iraq War.

But back in November, a slim majority of voters saw the Iraq War and the War on Terror as one in the same. Ira Chernus, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder says that was a bigger pluss than the so-called "morals voters" for Mr Bush's re-election:

"In polls taken during the campaign season (collated by the University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes).... On election day, the exit polls asked: 'Is the war in Iraq part of the war on terrorism?' The 54% who said "yes" went for Bush by a margin of 4 to 1. The 43% who said "no" went for Kerry by 9 to 1."

That was a good day for the Bush campaign.

The Bush administration's theory is that if Americans see Iraq as part of the War on Terror -- they will take their support of the President's handling of terrorism to a new support for the War on Terror. The Administration runs the risk, though, of American's taking their negative perceptions of how the Iraq War is going to the President's handling of terror. (Watching Washington)

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