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    Some good reading for the morn..., 2004-09-24 11:15:18 | Main | Echo Company...., 2004-09-24 15:31:29

    America is not divided over Vietnam. :

    The Gallup Organization has taken care to track American public opinion on this question every few years since the Vietnam War ended. The results are beyond dispute. By overwhelming margins, Americans have always believed -- and continue to believe -- that the Vietnamese conflict was wrong. Gallup has asked two questions over the years. First, did the United States make “a mistake in sending troops to fight in Vietnam, or not”? Second, was the war (and were other wars in U.S. history) “just” or “unjust”? In both cases, the pro-war position comes up very short. Gallup began asking a version of the “mistake” question in 1965. The first majority calling the war a mistake appeared in August 1968, after the Tet Offensive and Walter Cronkite’s famous anti-war editorial at the end of his newscast on the night of February 27 of that year. After the war’s 1975 conclusion, Gallup has asked the question five times, in 1985, 1990, 1993, 1995, and 2000. And all five times -- over that 15-year period that saw vast social change, the raging of the culture wars, and dramatic shifts to the right in American public opinion on several issues -- respondents were consistent in calling the war a mistake by a margin of more than 2 to 1: by 74 percent to 22 percent in 1990, for example, and by 69 percent to 24 percent in 2000.

    Similarly, vast majorities continue to call the war “unjust.” While substantial majorities retrospectively support World War II (90 percent), the Korean War (61 percent), and the Gulf War (66 percent), fully 68 percent of Gallup respondents in 1990 considered the Vietnam War unjust, and 25 percent thought it just. Four years later, the numbers were 71 percent to 23 percent. Only in 2004 -- after September 11, with American soldiers engaged in combat on two fronts, and with martial rhetoric from the incumbent administration a daily feature of national life -- did the numbers change. But even then, they changed just a little: 62 percent still consider Vietnam unjust, while 33 percent defend it.

    ...Another 1995 Gallup question even found a majority of 52 percent agreeing with the assertion that the war was “fundamentally wrong and immoral,” as opposed to the 43 percent who called it a “well-intentioned mistake.” And while it can be argued that the 33 percent of pro-Vietnam respondents in the 2004 poll still represents a decent chunk of the population, it’s also the case than in electoral terms, 33 percent constitutes a fractional minority. The similar percentage of Americans that opposed the Iraq War in the early months of 2003 was uniformly written off by the media as marginal, disgruntled, and unimportant.


:: posted by buermann @ 2004-09-24 15:00:57 CST | link





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