Dan McCarthy considers how failure in the Iraq war brought discredit on conservatism and alienated the Millennials in the new cover story for TAC, “The GOP’s Vietnam.” I recommend reading the entire article. Here is a short excerpt:
Republicans split over Bush’s wars as deeply as Democrats once split over Vietnam. The raw numbers aren’t similar—the antiwar right is not as numerous as the antiwar left once was—but the philosophical depth of the divide is as great. And it’s a generation gap. Boomer Republicans are still refighting old wars—Benghazi is the new Khe Sanh, and they’ve adopted Israel not only as avatar of the lost South Vietnam but as symbol of the Providential favor and military virtue our nation lost in the 1960s. Yet even the younger evangelicals—let alone Ron Paul’s youthful supporters and the neo-traditionalist “crunchy cons”—don’t buy it.
The GOP never learned to talk to the post-Vietnam generation in the first place; over the last decade, it compounded the problem by launching wars that, far from resolving the unfinished business of the Vietnam era, only made clear that those who are refighting the conflicts of that time are oblivious to today’s realities.
Speaking of Iraq and Vietnam, Gallup has released a survey for the Iraq war’s tenth anniversary that shows how out of step with the rest of the country a lot of Republicans still are on Iraq *and* Vietnam:
The most startling result here is not that most Republicans think the Iraq war wasn’t a mistake.They have been inundated for ten years with a constant stream of misinformation from conservative media telling them that it was successful and worthwhile. Republican opinion of the war has been shaped by inaccurate and misleading information from the beginning of the pre-war debate until now. No, what stands out here is that 45% of Republicans still believe that going to war in Vietnam wasn’t a mistake. If almost half of Republicans are holding on to the idea that the far more costly, equally unnecessary war in Vietnam was worth fighting, what chance is there that they will be persuaded that Iraq was a huge blunder?
On Iraq war question, the interesting thing in this Gallup poll is that a majority of every age cohort believes the Iraq war was a mistake, while the youngest cohorts that have little or no memory of the Vietnam era are much more likely to say that Vietnam wasn’t one:
The older the respondents, the more likely they are to say that sending U.S. troops to both Iraq and Vietnam was a mistake. What this suggests is that the GOP is increasingly alienated from the rest of the country on questions of war regardless of age. The party has lost younger voters on this and other issues, and its dead-ender support for the Iraq war clashes with the views of a majority of older voters as well. Republicans are at odds with most people in every generation on the Iraq war.