Monday, July 05, 2004

Do Supporters of The War Share Some Responsibility for The Public's Ambivalence?


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This editorial by Matthew D'Ancona in the Daily Telegraph, appearing on July 4, is entitled "The hawks have only themselves to blame for Michael Moore's success." D'Ancona's thesis is that the Iraq war's advocates have done a poor job of convincing the public of the need for war. His arguments resonate with me, as I think they will with most conservatives who have watched in frustration as the war effort absorbs body blow after body blow, seemingly without many counter-punches.

Here are some excerpts:

"But who can blame Michael Moore for seizing his chance? No war in modern history has been as badly sold to the public as this one. In private, the Prime Minister admits to colleagues that, in this respect, 'I have failed.' No Western politician, including Mr Blair, has succesfully produced a political narrative which transcends the old methods of spin developed in the 1990s and explains why the war on terror is a completely new kind of struggle. . . .

"This is why it isn't enough to say that Moore manipulates the facts, or that he is a charlatan, or that his arguments are glib. The reality is that his methods are working, and working for a reason. He is the grizzled face of a culture in denial, the contrarian voice of the millions who would rather hate Dubya than confront the awesome threat that stalks our age. His success is an urgent warning to those who support the war, who grasp its importance, to raise their game, and fast. Nitpicking is not the answer. It's the big issues that count. And it's there that Michael Moore has no answers. If he is so visionary, why is his objective - to run Bush out of the White House - so parochial? What would he do about the new horrors of our time? Dude, where's your sense of history?"

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