A "scholarly" study of Americans' tolerance for the increasing death toll in Iraq concludes that the "swing voters," (those people other than perennial "doves" who are sensitive to the death and injuries to American troops) will abide more casualties if they believe "victory" is imminent.
A question not posed by this study (and one that seems manifestly significant) is this: What is "victory"?
Certainly it's not the creation of some happy-talking, hula-hooping, jump-roping society where all is rosy and fine all the time. We don't have that in America, even. Nor, one would think, is it a grateful, peaceloving body politic that exudes democratic confidence and somnolent satisfaction with the status quo. We don't have that, either.
Here's what I think: The best we can hope for--and what Bush and the neocons are after--is some strongly-funded autocracy that is US-oriented and will nod and scrape when called upon, no matter what the citizenry really wants.
Such a system, of course, will only perpetuate violence in Iraq. But get this: That's what the neocons really want. As with the US, where they maintain their power with the constant "threat" of danger, they wish to do so in Iraq, so they can keep troops there indefinitely.
I must keep reminding myself: Bush doesn't want peace, doesn't want democracy. He can stay in power only if the conflict continues.