Magazine article The American Conservative

Fighting for Fiction

Magazine article The American Conservative

Fighting for Fiction

Article excerpt

[IRAQ]

In the wake of what may be the first battle in a full-scale Iraqi civil war-1,300 Iraqi casualties, mostly by execution, in two days-pollster John Zogby published a stunning survey of the attitudes of American soldiers serving in the country. The surprising result was not so much that they want the U.S. to pull out within a year (72 percent said so) but what they perceive as reasons for the mission. Eighty-five percent believe they are there "to retaliate for Saddam's role in the 9-11 attack." This is certainly odd since the Bush administration has long stopped pretending that Saddam played such a role. Only 24 percent believed that "establishing a democracy that can be a model for the Arab world" was the reason for the U.S. presence, though this has been the administration's public rationale since the WMD gambit turned out to be fraudulent.

It seems the soldiers have been developing independent rationales for why they fight. …

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