It's not that Bush administration policy is likely to change any time soon. It's that the American polity has reached a point of no return with the president and his constant and thoroughly unpersuasive assertions that everything is just peachy in Mesopotamia. The poll that showed sixty percent of Americans now want to start removing troops from Iraq merely confirmed what was obvious: Bush's war-policy can no longer be sustained by the kind of "trust-us" condescension that he has previously employed. And so the debate has polarized yet again - and the poles are now further apart than ever. On the one extreme are those in the Bush camp who are actually arguing that the war is all but over and that we have already won. On the other are those who opposed the war in the first place and seem to take a perverse pleasure in every discouraging news report. In between are various shades of hope and disappointment, despair and grim resolution. And in all of these positions, there is also a new intensity - rhetorical as well as real. That intensity suggests that the long period of acquiescence in a policy barely explained and riddled with inconsistency is coming to a close. Some kind of tipping point is approaching - either for or against the entire venture.
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