Does Bush have a political interest in prolonging the war?

Political commentary and more.
Dec. 6 2001 5:30 AM

Is it in Bush's political interest to prolong the war?

Get tomorrow's cliché today at kausfiles.

(Continued from Page 1)

But it's still true that a longer war is "objectively" in Bush's political interest, as a Marxist would say—and that's hardly irrelevant. All human decisions tend to be subtly and unconsciously influenced by self-interest. For all I know, Bill Clinton thought he was making the best decision for the nation when he launched the cruise missile attack on that Sudanese pharmaceutical plant in 1998. A desire to distract the public from his testimony before the grand jury in the Monica Lewinsky case may not have been a conscious motive. That doesn't mean it wasn't a motive.

Advertisement

Similarly, it's worth keeping in mind—as the war proceeds and enters a difficult, less conventional phase in which the very existence of an enemy is harder to determine—that Bush's decisions, too, may be subtly influenced by his "objective" political self-interest.

Prediction! Kausfiles will be roundly condemned as unpatriotic for this item. But within two months the essential point—that it's in Bush's political interest to keep the war going—will be such a staple of punditry that you will switch channels when you hear it.