Sunday, April 25, 2004

Fantasy world 

As referenced by TPM, Juan Cole writes about the recent poll which found that 57 out of 100 Americans believe Hussein and Bin Laden were allies, and 45 out of 100 still believe that Hussein had WMDs before the war.
Why would so many Americans cling to patently false beliefs? One can only speculate of course. But I would suggest that the two-party system in the US has produced a two-party epistemology. Epistemology is the study of how we know what we know. If it were accepted that Saddam had virtually nothing to do with al-Qaeda, that he had no weapons of mass destruction (nor any significant programs for producing them), and that no evidence for such things has been uncovered after the US and its allies have had a year to comb through Baath documents-- if all that is accepted, then President Bush's credibility would suffer. For his partisans, it is absolutely crucial that the president retain his credibility. Therefore, rather than face reality, they re-jigger it to create a fantasy world in which Saddam and Usamah are buddies . . . and in which David Kay . . . never recanted his earlier belief that the WMD was there somewhere. Of those who maintain that Iraq actually did have WMD, 72% say they are going to vote for Bush.
So no wonder Bush refuses to admit making any mistakes, when so many people still believe that such a straight-talking President would tell them only the truth.

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