This summer, opposition to the war in Iraq reached the tipping point—and tipped. A Gallup Poll in July showed the highest-ever level of opposition—62 percent say the United States made a mistake in sending troops to Iraq, the first time that number has topped 60 percent.
During the Senate debate in July, Republican senators began falling like dominoes—Chuck Hagel, Richard Lugar, George Voinovich, Pete Domenici, Olympia Snowe, even John Warner began looking for a way out. The Republican defections are bolstered by public opinion. Columnist Robert Novak wrote about Sen. Hagel: "As the first in a succession of Republican senators to be critical of Bush's Iraq policy, Hagel feared the worst when he returned home to conservative Nebraska for Fourth of July parades. Instead, he was pleasantly surprised by cheers and calls for the troops to be brought home." And the Democrats seem to be getting stronger in their willingness to follow the public mandate against this war that gave them a congressional majority in 2006.
Adding to the tip: U.S. casualties topped 3,600, with those wounded or emotionally scarred almost as countless as the stories about returning veterans not receiving the help and attention they need. Almost all the burden of this war has been borne by working-class families whose sons and daughters chose military service—not by the families and children of the elites who fabricated the case for it, grossly mismanaged its prosecution, and politically force its continuance.
A new Congressional Research Service study reported that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan now cost $12 billion per month. When that monthly price tag is compared to the $10 billion per year it would cost to educate the world's 800 million children under age 6, the contrast opens up a real debate on what truly makes for national and global security.