If I want your opinion I’ll beat the correct one out of you
The war to depose Saddam was, in fact, remarkably short. And yes, warnings about post-Saddam Iraqâ€”all couched in qualifying CYA language of â€œcouldâ€ or â€œmightâ€â€”have proven true, though it is NOT true that Iraqis want us out of the country now.
Eventually, yes. Inevitably, yes. But not nowâ€”not while they are still vulnerable. At least, if you can believe the pollsâ€”which, again, the US and international press have gone out of their way to spin negatively.
Only a third of the Iraqi people now believe that the American-led occupation of their country is doing more good than harm, and a solid majority support an immediate military pullout even though they fear that could put them in greater danger, according to a new USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll.
But while they acknowledge benefits from dumping Saddam a year ago, Iraqis no longer see the presence of the American-led military as a plus. Asked whether they view the U.S.-led coalition as “liberators” or “occupiers,” 71% of all respondents say “occupiers.”
That figure reaches 81% if the separatist, pro-U.S. Kurdish minority in northern Iraq is not included. The negative characterization is just as high among the Shiite Muslims who were oppressed for decades by Saddam as it is among the Sunni Muslims who embraced him.
The growing negative attitude toward the Americans is also reflected in two related survey questions: 53% say they would feel less secure without the coalition in Iraq, but 57% say the foreign troops should leave anyway. Those answers were given before the current showdowns in Fallujah and Najaf between U.S. troops and guerrilla fighters.
The findings come as the U.S. administration is struggling to quell the insurgency and turn over limited sovereignty to an interim Iraqi government by the end of June. Interviews this week in Baghdad underscored the findings.
“I’m not ungrateful that they took away Saddam Hussein,” says Salam Ahmed, 30, a Shiite businessman. “But the job is done. Thank you very much. See you later. Bye-bye.”
The first survey of Iraqis sponsored by the U.S. Coalition Provisional Authority after the Abu Ghraib prison scandal shows that most say they would feel safer if Coalition forces left immediately, without even waiting for elections scheduled for next year. An overwhelming majority, about 80 percent, also say they have â€œno confidenceâ€ in either the U.S. civilian authorities or Coalition forces.
Sixty-seven percent of those surveyed also said they believed violent attacks have increased around the country because â€œpeople have lost faith in the Coalition forces.â€
The poll numbers were reflected in the anger seen in the streets of Baghdad after a series of car bombings on Monday. While U.S forces and Iraqi police hung back, crowds set some of the vehicles on fire, threw bricks and shouted insults at U.S. soldiers. According to the poll, a mere 1 percent of Iraqis now feel that the Coalition forces contribute most to their sense of security; only 18 percent described Iraqi police the same way. By contrast, a total of 71 percent said they depended mostly on their family and friends and neighbors for security.
Iraqâ€™s Sunday elections will be held against a backdrop of deep division between the countryâ€™s ethnic groups, with an overwhelming majority of Sunni Arabs refusing to vote in the January 30 elections, a new Abu Dhabi TV/Zogby International poll finds. The poll also finds majorities of both Iraqâ€™s Shiites and Sunnis calling for a rapid withdrawal of U.S. forces from their soil. Zogby International polled 805 Iraqi adults from January 19 to 23, 2005 on behalf of television broadcaster Abu Dhabi TV. The margin of error is +/- 3.6 percentage points.
The survey, to be released at 5 p.m. ET on Abu Dhabi Television, found three-quarters (76%) of Sunni Arabs say they definitely will not vote in the January 30 elections, while just 9% say they are likely to vote. A majority of Shiites (80%) say they are likely to vote or definitely will vote, as are a smaller majority of Kurds (57%).
Majorities of both Sunni Arabs (82%) and Shiites (69%) also favor U.S. forces withdrawing either immediately or after an elected government is in place.
The poll also found that of Iraqâ€™s ethnic and religious groups, only the Kurds believe the U.S. will â€œhelpâ€ Iraq over the next five years, while half (49%) of Shiites and a majority (64%) of Sunni Arabs believe the U.S. will â€œhurtâ€ Iraq.
A new WPO poll of the Iraqi public finds that seven in ten Iraqis want U.S.-led forces to commit to withdraw within a year. An overwhelming majority believes that the U.S. military presence in Iraq is provoking more conflict than it is preventing and there is growing confidence in the Iraqi army. If the United States made a commitment to withdraw, a majority believes that this would strengthen the Iraqi government. Support for attacks on U.S.-led forces has grown to a majority positionâ€”now six in ten. Support appears to be related to a widespread perception, held by all ethnic groups, that the U.S. government plans to have permanent military bases in Iraq.
A large majority of Iraqisâ€”71%â€”say they would like the Iraqi government to ask for U.S.-led forces to be withdrawn from Iraq within a year or less. Given four options, 37 percent take the position that they would like U.S.-led forces withdrawn â€œwithin six months,â€ while another 34 percent opt for â€œgradually withdraw[ing] U.S.-led forces according to a one-year timeline.â€ Twenty percent favor a two-year timeline and just 9 percent favor â€œonly reduc[ing] U.S.-led forces as the security situation improves in Iraq.â€
Blairâ€™s gone, centrist Republicans are in revolt, the Iraqi parliamentâ€™s planning to take a little summer vay-cay while U.S. troops are busy dodging IEDs, and now this. Itâ€™s a perfect storm. I think itâ€™s safe to say weâ€™re at endgame.
A majority of Iraqi lawmakers have endorsed a bill calling for a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops and demanding a freeze on the number of foreign troops already in the country, lawmakers said Thursdayâ€¦
The Iraqi bill, drafted by a parliamentary bloc loyal to anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, was signed by 144 members of the 275-member house, according to Nassar al-Rubaie, the leader of the Sadrist bloc.
The Sadrist bloc, which sees the U.S.-led forces as an occupying army, has pushed similar bills before, but this was the first time it had garnered the support of a majority of lawmakersâ€¦
Some key Republican supporters of President Bush’s Iraq war policy said this week that if the Iraqi parliament calls for the withdrawal of U.S. troops, their position could change dramatically.
“I suspect we would respect their wishes,” said Florida Rep. Adam Putnam, the third-ranking Republican in the House.
“I think that it would reflect a successful, healthy and well-running parliamentary organization that was delivered to that nation by the sacrifices of our fighting men and women.” Putnam was responding to a bill a majority of Iraqi lawmakers signed on to earlier this month supporting a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. forces.
Obviously the “otherness” of the Iraqis prevents them from seeing how these poll questions have been “framed” and therefore their responses are epistemologically suspect.