Monday, June 27, 2005

The Iraq Tipping Point

US public opinion on the Iraq war dips with every dead soldier, and plummets at the first sniff of defeat

Gary Younge The Guardian

At just around the time when Hush Puppies were believed to have been relegated to the footwear of choice for old geezers and ageing hippies, they suddenly enjoyed a comeback. Hip people started scouting around in unfashionable shops to buy them and then hip stores in Greenwich Village started to sell them. A Hush Puppy executive, Geoffrey Lewis, was taken completely by surprise. "We were told that Isaac Mizrahi was wearing the shoes himself," he said. "I think it's fair to say that at the time we had no idea who Isaac Mizrahi was."

In Malcolm Gladwell's book, The Tipping Point, he describes the conditions that are necessary to transform Hush Puppies from the old school to new cool. "The world of the tipping point is a place where the unexpected becomes expected, where radical change is more than a possibility," he argues. "It is - contrary to all our expectations - a certainty."

American public opinion appears to be approaching just such a point in relation to the war in Iraq. The last fortnight has revealed a growing impatience with the military misadventure in the Gulf and an irritation with the White House's persistent denials that anything is wrong. This has translated into more urgent and widespread calls to bring the troops home that has finally percolated up to the political class. This new phase has put George Bush on the back foot, forcing him to deliver a major address tomorrow night to rally public support, which is evidently draining away. He will tell them that America needs "resolve".

For the White House Iraq has become the latest faith-based initiative....


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