Lawrence Kaplan of the New Republic has the best analysis I’ve seen as to why Fallujah will not cause a “Mogadishu” effect, in other words, why it won’t prompt us to cut and run. Believe it or not, the reason has to do with leadership. Here’s Kaplan’s argument:
“In recent years the public’s unwillingness to tolerate battle deaths has become canonical among America’s leaders. But the impression is largely self-serving. The point may seem obvious, but the public does not choose causes worth dying for; elites do it for them. Or do not. When 18 Army Rangers were killed in Mogadishu, polls by NBC, ABC and CNN found that 61, 56 and 55 percent, respectively, favored sending more troops to Somalia. But when President Bill Clinton cut his losses and made it clear that even he no longer supported the mission, public resolve evaporated. In Lebanon, too, public support for the U.S. intervention in that country increased after the 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut. But when President Ronald Reagan backed away from the operation, so did most Americans. Numbers such as these lead Steven Kull and Clay Ramsay of the Program on International Policy Attitudes to conclude that ‘polls show little evidence that the majority of Americans will respond to fatalities by wanting to withdraw U.S. troops immediately and, if anything, are more likely to want to respond assertively.'”
Now they finally have a president who will.
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