I keep reading variations on the idea that somehow a rebellion isn't legitimate, or at least can't be successful, if only a minority of people participate. That's odd to me because the American Revolution itself, oft held high as the prime example of good and just rebellion, hardly had popular support. Only an estimated one-third of the colonists
in favor of breaking away from Britain.
That's why this comment from Bush
yesterday caught my attention:
I believe -- strongly believe that by far, the vast majority of Iraqis want there to be a peaceful country and a free country. And so the Iraq people are on the side of the transition to a peaceful country. We just can't let a few people -- and I say "a few" -- listen, there was enough to cause harm, but a few, relative to the rest of the people -- you just can't let a small percentage of the Iraqi people decide the fate of everybody, and that's what you're seeing.
Now don't get me wrong: I'm not drawing a moral equivalence between our Revolution and the Iraqi resistance. It's just that I hear this refrain of "most Iraqis want" from many quarters, and it strikes me as naive to think that somehow this has any real meaning. As one of our own revolutionaries, Samuel Adams
[I]t does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds.
Right now, we're up against a pretty damn irate, seemingly tireless minority. Not surprising there is a significant uprising, given that nobody wants to be occupied by another nation, no matter how benign. So forgive me when I take Iraqi opinion polls that show they love us with the proverbial grain of salt. I'm more interested in the reality on the ground, and it's not good. So where do we go from here?