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November 19, 2005

The Next Long-Term Narrative -- Democrats Lost Iraq

-- by Dave Johnson

Watch how a "narrative" develops and expands. Democrats want to "surrender" and "cut and run," such talk is "undermining the war effort" and "hurting the troops" and "aiding and comforting the enemy."

It's because the war is going badly and the Republicans are planning to cut and run. It's about blame for the loss in Iraq, and the consequences that will follow. And it's about long-term repetition of a strategic narrative until the public accepts it as solid truth.

You are starting to hear this narrative repeated everywhere. Get used to it, because you're going to be hearing it for many years. Today you think it sounds contrived and obvious, and you think the tide is turning on the Republicans. But over time this narrative could turn the loss in Iraq into a strength, not a defeat, for the Right. If, over time, the public blames the Democrats for the loss, the Right wins. And the Right understands this a lot better than the Democrats do.

Today's polls for Bush are because "Bush lied, people died" has been repeated consistently over time. This message has been heard because we have developed new, albeit tiny (blogs plus one or two radio networks), channels for communicating. And the message has been repeated for long enough that it has started to sink in. That's how it works. Consistent repetition of a simple, strategic narrative over time through multiple channels. But this repetition has been more of an accident than a coordinated strategy. "Bush lied, people died" is a clear enough message and true enough to resonate, so people have spread it largely through word-of-mouth.

The Right's narrative will dominate if they can reach more people, more often, over a longer period of time with the message that the Democrats sold us out by cutting and running. The question is who has the discipline and the means to win the message-repetition war, not just this short-term battle. Who do you think that will be? It's what the Right does, and does well. Today's narrative is based on the still-repeated lie that Democrats and the press forced the United States to surrender Viet Nam. Democrats and Progressives are not used to thinking long-term and are not used to thinking strategically.

Thie narrative "echoes" today. At Heritage Foundation's Townhall, Call them what they are -- TRAITORS by Mark M. Alexander,

Senators Harry Reid, Dick Durbin and Ted Kennedy have accused President George W. Bush of lying about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, insisting that he "lied us into war." Some Demo wing nuts are even floating the idea of impeachment. . . . In other words, Democrat Party leaders are using the gravely serious matter of the Iraq War for trivial political fodder -- and their politicization of our mission there has put our Armed Forces in the region in greater peril.

[. . .] Clearly this Democrat "leadership" is willing to turn our national-security interests into political fodder by accusing the President of the United States of lying us into a war. Problem is, the President had no political motive for Operation Iraqi Freedom -- only a legitimate desire to fulfill the highest obligation of his office: that of defending our liberty against all threats.

Ted, Dick and Harry, on the other hand, have plenty of political motivation for their perfidy -- and they've placed America's uniformed Patriots in the crossfire.

[. . .] In the end, American Patriots must call out Kennedy, Durbin, Reid, et al., for what they are: TRAITORS. How else to describe political leaders who so eagerly embolden our Jihadi enemies and erode the morale of our fighting forces in Iraq and around the world?

More examples of the narrative developing:

David Limbaugh, at NewsMax, Republicans Must Fight the Withdrawal Mania,

As for withdrawing our troops, Democratic leaders are talking to hear their heads rattle (and to score political points).

. . . To prematurely establish an arbitrary timetable for our troop withdrawal ... would give the terrorists a victory they could never attain on the battlefield. It would reinvigorate their cause by confirming their suspicion that the American infidels lack the resolve to persevere.

Heading toward a pressured and premature pullout?,
It's all nuts - this seeming congressional determination to turn not only on President Bush, but on the American troops fighting for freedom and democracy on the Iraqi front of the terror war.
Oliver North, How to lose a war -- the sequel,
For more than two years the so-called mainstream media, the far left and some in Congress have been making trite comparisons between Vietnam and Iraq. Having spent a significant amount of time in both conflicts, about the only parallels I have seen in the two wars have been that bullets still wound and kill, and spilled blood is still red. But another common thread now ties the two hostilities together -- political cowardice in Washington, D.C.
Bush himself, Bush Rejects Calls for Iraq Withdrawal, in a speech to a military audience,
President Bush on Saturday swatted down calls in Congress for a U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq, saying that American military leaders believe that retreat now would be "a recipe for disaster."

. . . "In Washington there are some who say that the sacrifice is too great, and they urged us to set a date for withdrawal before we have completed our mission," the president said. "Those who are in the fight know better."

Part of this narrative is clearly intended to give the troops someone to blame for the deaths of their comrades. The Rght wants them coming back home bitter, believing they were betrayed.

Posted by Dave Johnson at November 19, 2005 10:14 AM

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Tracked on November 21, 2005 5:05 PM


Comments

Excuse me, Dave, but YOU argue in favor of senseless (THE UN WILL SAVE US!) solutions. I know you do it because you are a dem and you don't want to embarass your team, who were also, though certainly not equally, culpable for getting us into Iraq. There is only one answer, regardless of who looks bad: out now. Twenty-five years from now, they will quote YOU in support of their stab-in-the-back theory.

This is as old as forever. The stab-in-the-back was old when Hitler used it rise to power.

Posted by: richard [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 19, 2005 3:01 PM

I don't see how any of what you said here has anything to do with what I wrote?

Posted by: Dave Johnson [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 19, 2005 3:34 PM

"Look here! Even the ultra-left-wing lunatic Johnson states that immediate withdrawal from Iraq would be wrong! Although, like all in the ultra-left, he rebukes our heroic soldiers and disparages their sacrifices in favor of reliance on the sham United Nations, even he is clear that the cut-and-run cowardice of his comrades is wrong! Look here!"

See what I mean? Don't HELP THEM.

Posted by: richard [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 19, 2005 3:57 PM

I'm not sure there is ANYONE who thinks "immediate withdrawal" from Iraq is a good idea, for anyone. That's why the Republicans introduced THAT in the House yesterday, to try to paid Democrats with that as their proposal. That isn't what Murtha proposed. B ut it is what the newspaper this morning SAID the Democrats had proposed.

Posted by: Dave Johnson [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 19, 2005 4:32 PM

There are MANY, MANY, MANY people who believe that immediate withdrawal is the ONLY idea. Unfortunately, few are elected democrats.

Posted by: richard [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 19, 2005 4:48 PM

What does any of this have to do with the post?

Posted by: Dave Johnson [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 19, 2005 5:14 PM

Part of this narrative is clearly intended to give the troops someone to blame for the deaths of their comrades. The Right wants them coming back home bitter, believing they were betrayed.

It would be more accurate to say this narrative is intended to misdirect Iraq veterans, who will naturally be looking for someone to blame for their sufferings and the deaths of their comrades.

Everyone knows [including the reactionaries] the veterans will be bitter and many of them will be easily convinced they were betrayed. The narrative is designed to channel their reactionary impulses into believing they were betrayed by spineless politicians who knuckled under to the relentless calls from enemy sympathizers among the civilian population here at home.

The open question is what the reactionaries will do with the attentions of these misdirected veterans once they have obtained their full and undivided attention.

Posted by: s9 at November 19, 2005 6:32 PM

This is just nut's.Just like it was last night.Murtha never called for we're gonna take them out tomorrow withdrawls.That's the point.the big old shit fight last night was about trying to make it seem like he did.He did not.That was never what he was trying to say.He just finally came out and told the truth.We did what we went there to do and we are no longer accomplishing a damn thing.Anyway, that the way I heard it and that is the way I see it.Nobody is saying that we have to pull every body out tomorrow at the latest.But it is more or less a asap thing.Common sense as far as I can see.I will say..it was kinda fun to see some honest to gosh anger out there..bout time.

Posted by: Anonymous at November 19, 2005 8:48 PM

One of the frustrating things about the hullabaloo is how easy it is to miss the real statements because of all the yelling and misinformation. What Murtha was saying is something that is eminently sensible: he was saying that as long a Bush is in charge of this war, it will be a total cock-up and the consequences to our country will be disasterous - it is better to recognize that right now and bring our troops home - because they'll never be able to make up for the lack of real support from this administration: too few troops, too little sense and a government that cuts taxes during a war. Of course, the right wing wants to drown out that statement - it is a statement based in reality and they can't stand that.

Posted by: Mary at November 20, 2005 12:00 PM

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