An Associated Press poll which investigated U.S. knowledge of and attitudes toward the Iraq carnage seems full of interesting data -- but you'd never know it from the headline and the lead to the story.
This finding is not terribly surprising; continuous daily reporting renders Iraqi dead a faceless blur of broken bodies. Many U.S. military casualties get sympathetic obituaries in their home towns, complete with high school pictures and classmate remembrances.
But the really striking finding in the poll is this:
More than a quarter of all younger U.S. residents have a personal connection to the war! Considering that the object of the Bush administration has been to have its war without mobilizing the society or giving most people any awareness of the cost, this seems quite a high figure. Nothing like previous wars though.
Yet the number of people in the U.S. who directly know someone hurt by the war is growing enough to cause concern among the powers that be. A Duke University researcher has written a calculator to estimate how rising Iraqi and Afghan civilian deaths, injuries, and detentions by the occupiers increase numbers of resistance fighters. He knows his calculations can also be applied to the U.S. antiwar movement:
Looks like the Bush administration has done the experiment. Opposition to an inexplicable, losing war gets significant when the level of those touched closely reaches a quarter of the younger civilian population.