(as reported by Janet Weil, CODEPINK's woman on the pre-speech briefing by the White House)
Political Affairs magazine reporter: To what extent does souring of public opinion play a role?
White House spokesman: It really doesn't play a role.Yeah, that's what Mubarak thought, too.
See, even when you get a rare level of coverage from MSM outlets like the New York Times and the Washington Post, for mayors voting overwhelmingly to tell Congress and the POTUS that they've had it with the war, and they're desperate for funding -- it doesn't matter.
Until it does.
A college student I know surveyed her peers for a research project a few months ago. They seemed kind of surprised we were still in a war in Afghanistan. In polls where they remind you and then ask how you feel about it, negatives are edging up from 2/3 into the 3/4 range right about now in the USA.
Yesterday I happened to run into a reporter I know and tried to interest him in the local angle of the mayors' resolution story, since I had just come from Baltimore and contributed to the effort. But he was too excited about covering a story on the Army National Guard building a "free" recreational facility for the town.
As camouflage fuel tanker trucks and humvees roared past the little kid's playground, an unemployed Afghanistan vet who's living in a homeless shelter told my husband about trying to find work now that he has partially recovered from the worst of his anxiety attacks and PTSD. He said he was doing a lot better lately "with my anxiety" as he pushed his girlfriend's son on the swings.
So where's the real story?
President Obama will announce tonight that he's starting to pull out a similar number of troops as he surged in, around 33,000, over the course of the next twelve months. One of his many broken campaign promises: to be headed out of Afghanistan by July. Souring public opinion is unlikely to be fooled by this ruse, but refer to the belief that we, the people, play no role here. Other than paying for wars and the debts on wars with our taxes.
He likely won't say anything about contractors, who per capita cost the taxpayer more than government employees like troops; estimates are that there are as many of them, around 100,000, as there are troops at the moment. Where will it all end? Will public opinion ultimately be called to the stage to play a role after all?
The artist proposes, and the goddess disposes -- isn't that the way the saying goes? Here's one of many world visions about to be displayed in that hotbed of creative war resistance, downtown Skow-town, in my friend Abby Shahn's curated group show "Worlds Seen and Foreseen." Visions of the world, as sculptural globes, created by over 20 artists will be in shop windows on the rotary in Skowhegan, Maine starting this week. There will be an artists reception on Friday, August 5th from 2:00 to 6:00 pm. (http://www.maineartscene.com/
photo: Kenny Cole "Pythagoras Knew" 36" x 36" x 36" ink, gouache and paper-mache 2011