Public discontent with the Iraq war has eased slightly, a new Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll shows, suggesting President Bush may have a little more maneuvering room at a critical point in debates over war costs and troop levels.The article suggests the next line of attack for hard left opponents of the war:
As Mr. Bush prepares to follow congressional testimony by the top general in Iraq, David Petraeus, with a televised speech to the nation tonight, the poll shows an uptick in support for the president's handling of the war as well as a small increase in the proportion of Americans who believe the troop surge is helping and that victory remains possible.
Those shifts in public opinion remain modest. Solid majorities continue to disapprove of the president's performance and say victory in Iraq isn't possible and that the war hasn't been worth its human and financial costs. "There's been no surge from the American people," said Democratic pollster Peter Hart, who conducts the Journal/NBC poll with Republican counterpart Neil Newhouse.
Yet only one in four Americans say troops should leave now regardless of conditions on the ground.
Some Democratic congressional leaders already are shifting the debate in reaction to indications that Mr. Bush has stemmed his slide -- moving it away from withdrawal timelines and toward their contention that the administration is pursuing an open-ended commitment to American involvement. That represents a political challenge for Republican candidates in 2008, even if Mr. Bush is able to sustain his policy.Actually, I think it represents a greater challenge for Democrats and their antiwar allies. We're still in Germany, Japan, and South Korea, and I find it unrealistic to expect the U.S. not to maintain a forward troop presence in Iraq for years, if not decades, to come.