"War Fatigue": A Subtle Version of "Cut-And-Run"

Apparently a whole lot of Americans are not so much angered and appalled with this war of choice in Iraq that has killed and wounded thousands of men, women and children. We're just tired of it. At parties and picnics people must be saying things like, "Oh, that war. I can't talk about it anymore. It's so tiresome." Others are lumbering about, knuckles dragging, yawning at the very thought of the war.

Any student of persuasion and propaganda knows that terms like "war fatigue" are the creations of those who mislead without overtly lying - masters of word association crafting images of our times that serve their purposes. Fortunately for them most of us don't monitor carefully what enters our brains. They float such deceptive rhetorical devices as trial balloons out into a media hungry for short cuts and some of them stay airborne.

It's important to George W. that we buy into this war fatigue excuse he keeps repeating. It deflects blame away from him onto us. It's a rhetorical escape hatch and a planted slant for future historians. Never mind that the label is insulting and patronizing to Americans who've lived through or, worse, fought through this hell he and his cronies created with a pack of lies. Never mind that it paints us as vacuously immoral cowards unable to stand up to villains because we need a nap. Never mind that we're witnessing diplomatic ineptitude of astronomical proportions while Condoleeza Rice does understanding-our -impatience, vase room interviews for Fox and Friends. Never mind that our soldiers are being told that while they're risking their lives we're all back here finding the whole thing tedious. They're at war and we're sloughing about like bored teenagers while the president, the great hero, man of the century directs his clash of civilizations.

There is no low to which this administration will not go. But persuasion research tells us repeated word associations can work. They get into our brains, become what the president describes as part of "our psychology." Look how careful Democrats were to avoid the "cut and run" label as ludicrous as it was.

This president needs to be clearly informed that the only fatigue we're feeling is the one associated with him and Dick Cheney still being in office. And that only occurs very late at night after another full day of outrage.

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