Republicans are now taking the tact that LBJ would have taken in 1968 should he have run.
The need of a solid block of the populace, particularly Republicans, to turn to cognitive dissonance over reality.
While Iraq deteriorates, George Bush's popularity ratings do not go down as things blow up -- at least in the short-term.
In part that may be a product of illogical sampling.
In part that may be the fact that the broadcast media seems incapable of contemplating failure. They are more enablers than informers.
But the most substantial cause is that Bush/Cheney 2004 understands one thing, nobody likes to admit to mistakes. Nobody.
And this is no less true for countries, than it is for people -- only the truly defeated countries even try.
Germany has made some actual efforts to admit collective responsibility for the Holocaust, though for years it was more along the lines of "Yes, we are responsible...can we move along now?". Nonetheless it is an effort, weak as it is.
France creates a national myth to drown out the stain of Vichy. Japan creates a democracy and tries to ignore the 'Rape of Nanking', the 'Bataan Death March' and 'Pearl Harbor'.
The United States, conveniently tries to build up the heroism of the 'Civil War' by ignoring the main causes of that war and the aspirations of it that have yet to be truly accomplished. We also avoid talking too much about what happened to Native Americans.
Those are big historical things. They also apply to lesser events and tragedies -- though if you are a victim of one, it certainly is not lesser to you.
Americans who supported Bush and the invasion of Iraq did so either out of loyalty to party, a belief in the institution of the presidency, or the fear generated by the events of September 11th. Some were stronger, some weaker in their support, but support it was -- a collective embrace of the act by a substantial portion of the populace, not universal by any means, but a good sized chunk -- a chunk that turned out to vote in November 2002.
Of course, many of those people were sold on the promises of the Administration, promises the vast majority of which have not come true.
Other than deposing and capturing Saddam, what promise or justification has come true?
Iraq is no democracy and gives no indication it will become one. Bush proclaims that Kerry prefers dictatorship to democracy, ignoring the fact that Iraq is certainly not the latter. On the same day, Bush can go out and praise Pakistani President Musharef, a man who took power in a military coup, deposing an elected leader, and who in the wake of a referendum in which he promised to leave the military rank behind, has now refused.
While mass graves have been uncovered, they have been oversold -- much like the war -- in number, and the fact that we have in turn killed more than 20,000 Iraqis, a huge number civilians, sort of mitigates that fact against us. The condemnation of torture chambers and rape rooms rings hollow when we created our own versions in the same place.
It is hard to decry the brutal repression of a revolt in Basra, when we are routinely bombing Fallujah, and when a soccer stadium becomes a makeshift mass grave.
The blood of the 20,000+ is on Bush's hands, including the now 1,034 American killed. But more than that it is on the collective hands of those who support him. For even as the results worsen, their support concretizes. It cannot be a mistake, it cannot be an error, it cannot be not merely in vain.
To admit the lie, for nothing they die.
And that is the cost of self-proof and cognitive dissonance.
The invasion of Iraq and its management has been a colossal folly. Someday the vast majority of the populace and the common perception will be that it was so. The only question is when it will happen. History will condemn, even if the present blanches.
The admission of error and condemnation could, it should, happen now. If nothing else the statements of Chuck Hegel and John McCain of this weekend demonstrate that. Without publicly abandoning Bush, they are clearly stating WE ARE LOSING, IT WILL BE IN VAIN, STOP DELUDING YOURSELVES. They say that not merely to Bush, but to all of us.
But it will not happen now.
Because Bush is the guy who sees the pony buried under the 500 tons of manure, and this is combined with his pathological will-to-power. Those two competing traits having common interest, the statements to the American people of mindless optimism, are less deliberate lies than delusional. These delusional statements serve the interest of those who want to believe, who need to believe that...
20,000+ corpses cannot be wrong.