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In the summer of 2002, journalist Ron Suskind had a meeting with a senior advisor to President George W. Bush (later identified as Karl Rove). The aide said that guys like me were in what we call the reality-based community, which he defined as people who believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality. I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. Thats not the way the world really works anymore, he continued. Were an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while youre studying that reality judiciously, as you will well act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and thats how things will sort out. Were historys actors and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.

Seventy-one percent of Americans said that the war in Iraq wasnt worth it, a 25 June 2014 NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Annenberg poll shows, with skepticism about the lengthy war effort up substantially even in the previous 18 months. Just 22 percent believed the 2003 war effort was worthwhile. In a January 2013 NBC/Wall Street Journal poll asking the same question, 59 percent of Americans said the war wasnt worth it, versus 35 percent who said the opposite. Half of respondents in the 2014 poll also said that the United States did not have a responsibility to help the Iraqi government as the country descends into sectarian violence, while 43 percent said that America should intervene.

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