The BBC commissioned a survey of people in 22 countries to gauge opinions on whether the US should stay in Iraq. With three choices presented – leave immediately, leave over the coming year or stay until Iraq is stabilized -“some 39% of people in 22 countries said troops should leave now, and 28% backed a gradual pull-out. Just 23% wanted them to stay until Iraq was safe.”
In the US, one-in-four supported an immediate withdrawal, while 32% wanted Iraq’s security issues to be resolved before bringing the troops home.
The respondents were also asked whether they believed the US would leave a permanent military presence in Iraq.
Half of those questioned believed the US would have bases in Iraq permanently, while 36% assumed all troops would withdraw once Iraq was stabilised.
In reporting on the survey, the BBC mentioned that the poll shows “remarkable consistency” across countries and noted that 64% of Americans want the troops out immediately or within one year.
On yesterday’s call with Gov. Richardson, he mentioned that the Iraqi people also want us out. It was sadly surprising to actually hear a Democratic candidate acknowledge the views of the Iraqi people as part of their comments on the occupation. We have become so used to hearing the discussion framed in terms of US imposed “benchmarks” like passage of the Hydrocarbon bill which benefits big oil rather than the Iraqis who own the oil. The lack of consideration for the human costs of our occupation of Iraq in almost all policy discussions is shameful.
One side of those costs are recounted at a new site hosted by KPFA’s Aaron Glantz, author of How America Lost Iraq. Called The War Comes Home it features the latest on veterans issues and podcasts of veterans telling their own stories. These are voices we need to listen to – they speak truth about the war from a perspective missing in all the kabuki in DC and on the campaign trail.
At the same time, news of the human cost in Iraq continues to prove that all the “progress” talk is not reality-based if you are an Iraqi and not a junketing congresscritter. Yesterday’s reports included 14 civilians killed in Baghdad by US air strikes and word from Dahr Jamail’s colleague Ali al-Fadhily about increasing civilian casualties in Samarra and the inevitable results. As Ali notes: “The resistance seems to have grown as the attacks have continued.”
The ACLU has just released new documents reporting on civilian deaths and has filed suit to try to get more complete information about “Army Complicit(y) in Wrongful Wartime Civilian Deaths” from the Department of Defense noting that:
Since U.S. troops first set foot in Afghanistan in 2001, the Defense Department has gone to unprecedented lengths to control and suppress information about the human costs of war.
As we move into Petraeus Spin Week, how many of our representatives will speak up for an end to these human costs and a reconciliation with the world’s people who are asking us to get out of Iraq now?
Photo: An Iraqi girl walks past a house destroyed overnight in a US air strike in the al-Washash neighbourhood of Mansour district in west Baghdad. US combat helicopters and tanks have bombarded a Baghdad neighbourhood in pre-dawn strikes, killing 14 sleeping civilians and destroying houses, angry residents and Iraqi officials said.(AFP/Ahamd Al-Rubaye)