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I can't believe i'm quoting Peggy Noonan

Ugh, i feel dirty just linking to her. And there's a lot in her article i don't like ("Wrong time, wrong place, wrong plan, wrong man.", and the whole bit about Washington crossing the Delaware). But she does catch something that i think is pretty amazing about public sentiment.

The American people do not support military action. A Reuters-Ipsos poll had support for military action at 20%, Pew at 29%. Members of Congress have been struck, in some cases shocked, by the depth of opposition from their constituents. A great nation cannot go to war--and that's what a strike on Syria, a sovereign nation, is, an act of war--without some rough unity as to the rightness of the decision. Widespread public opposition is in itself reason not to go forward.


A point on how quickly public opinion has jelled. There is something going on here, a new distance between Washington and America that the Syria debate has forced into focus. The Syria debate isn't, really, a struggle between libertarians and neoconservatives, or left and right, or Democrats and Republicans. That's not its shape. It looks more like a fight between the country and Washington, between the broad American public and Washington's central governing assumptions.

I've been thinking of the "wise men," the foreign policy mandarins of the 1950s and '60s, who so often and frustratingly counseled moderation, while a more passionate public, on right and left, was looking for action. "Ban the Bomb!" "Get Castro Out of Cuba."

In the Syria argument, the moderating influence is the public, which doesn't seem to have even basic confidence in Washington's higher wisdom.

By fnord12 | September 6, 2013, 12:48 PM | Liberal Outrage