Poll: Americans say World War III likely, Republicans needed nuke threat to scare their own base?

I had a dream last night that I ran into Donald Rumsfeld at a picnic. It was really awkward! Anyway,

This was kinda disturbing:

Poll: Americans Say World War III Likely:

(07-24) 02:14 PDT WASHINGTON, (AP) --

Americans are far more likely than the Japanese to expect another world war in their lifetime, according to AP-Kyodo polling 60 years after World War II ended. Most people in both countries believe the first use of a nuclear weapon is never justified.

Those findings come six decades after the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The war claimed about 400,000 U.S. troops around the world, more than three times that many Japanese troops and at least 300,000 Japanese civilians.

Out of the ashes, Japan and the United States forged a close political alliance. Americans and Japanese now generally have good feelings about each other.

But people in the two countries have very different views on everything from the U.S. use of the atomic bomb in 1945, fears of North Korea and the American military presence in Japan.

Some of the widest differences came on expectations of a new world war.

Six in 10 Americans said they think such a war is likely, while only one-third of the Japanese said so, according to polling done in both countries for The Associated Press and Kyodo, the Japanese news service.

"Man's going to destroy man eventually. When that will be, I don't know," said Gaye Lestaeghe of Freeport, La.

Some question whether that war has arrived, with fighting dragging on in Afghanistan and Iraq as part of the U.S. campaign against terrorism.

"I feel like we're in a world war right now," said Susan Aser, a real estate agent from Rochester, N.Y.

Perhaps this is somewhat connected with the fear of nuclear attack firmly embedded in Bush's base. As a Drum post on the Washington Monthly points out, Rove and the White House may have been taking the Niger Uranium story and running with it because the Republican base was scared shitless of a nuclear attack, and needed to stay all riled up.

...the White House political operation wasn't lashing out just because of Joe Wilson. They were lashing out because they believed their political lives depended on their own supporters continuing to believe that Saddam had been actively working on a nuke program. Without that belief, they'd lose support within their own base even if they eventually found evidence of chem and bio programs.

In Karl Rove's world, the base is sacred, and nukes were the key to their support. Joe Wilson threatened to open a crack in that support, and that's why he had to be destroyed.

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