Live by the poll, die by the poll. Via Kevin Drum.
In Baghdad, for example, nearly three-quarters of residents polled said they would feel safer if U.S. and other foreign forces left Iraq, with 65 percent of those asked favoring an immediate pullout, according to State Department polling results obtained by The Washington Post.
….Another new poll, scheduled to be released on Wednesday by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, found that 71 percent of Iraqis questioned want the Iraqi government to ask foreign forces to depart within a year.
….The director of another Iraqi polling firm, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared being killed, said public opinion surveys he conducted last month showed that 80 percent of Iraqis who were questioned favored an immediate withdrawal.
Jalal Talabani doesn’t completely agree with the Iraq people on this. Rather than a complete pullout, he merely wants greater than 90% of Americans to leave, with just enough staying behind in Kurdistan to discourage the Turks and Iranians.
Of course it goes without saying that America knows what is good for the Iraqis better than the Iraqi people do. Why else would we airily dismiss the strategy favored by three quarters of the Iraqi people? This freedom thing must be new to them. Give it time.
As for the strategic consequences for us, yesterday’s “NIE” summary pointed out our basic quandary. The Iraqi war has unquestionably made the terror threat worse, both in terms of actual attacks and giving the jihadis a potent symbol for recruiting and general demagoguery. The choice now appears to be whether we “win” and make things only a little worse, since even “disheartened” jihadi leaders will have years of battlefield experience under their belt, or “lose” and make things a whole lot worse.
Except, we do not have the resources to win. Military limitations will soon mandate a phased pullout whether Bush likes it or not, simply due to the availability of equipment and combat-ready troops. The Army has hollowed itself out trying to maintain a clearly inadequate presence. Unless Iraq magically fixes itself in the space of a year or so “losing” is pretty much pre-ordained.
Damn. Another poll bearing good news:
About six in 10 Iraqis say they approve of attacks on U.S.-led forces, and slightly more than that want their government to ask U.S. troops to leave within a year, according to a poll in that country.
[…] Almost four in five Iraqis say the U.S. military force in Iraq provokes more violence than it prevents.
About 61 percent approved of the attacks — up from 47 percent in January. A solid majority of Shiite and Sunni Arabs approved of the attacks, according to the poll. The increase came mostly among Shiite Iraqis.
About the most positive thing you can take away from this is that Bin Laden did not poll any better than we did.
Hang in there, man. Only 2.25 more years, and then we’ll have another GOP president that you will hopefully be able to embrace.
This president doesn’t govern by polls. We had one who did and he left us with a big recession and wide open to a terrible terrorist attack.
We’ll stay in Iraq until God tells Bush it’s time to leave.
And if you look at Talabani’s request for a couple of US brigades and a fighter wing or two to deter Turkey from smushing Kurdistan, it is absurd within the context of these numbers, as the US supply lines in any conflict situtation are in trouble. US supply lines from Kuwait to Irbil have to go through both the Shi’ite south and the Sunni Arab center. I am assuming that lightly guarded convoys will be routinely shot up by someone on a four hundred mile roadmarch through potentially hostile territory.
Any confrontation with Turkey means using Turkish ports and roads to supply US forces in Kurdistan is a joke, and the US will not get permission from Syria or Iran to resupply through their territory, nor would the US ask for it in the first place.
Well, I suppose that’s better than Jenna deciding the foreign policy.
Well, I suppose that’s better than Jenna deciding the foreign policy.
Hey, if my Dad destroyed the country, I’d probably be a drunk too. I feel sorry for those two girls.
Wrong. Don’t ever confuse Bush and Cheney with America. Neither is fit to be in the same room with an American flag.
So let’s do the math. Three-quarters of the Iraqis have had enough freedomizing and want us to leave within a year. About the same number of U.S. boots in country think the same. Around 60% of those in this country agree with them.
So what do we get from the spine-free, no-fault admin? Pouting, stamping of little feet, while whining “Stay the course, you’re all a bunch of Nazi symps!”
I’d feel more comfortable with Barney making decisions that Dubya.
But, but, wait, that’s not what Buckets said the Iraqis want…
So you guys like strict majority rule-by-poll, eh? Just to show you how intellectually vacant this post is, I’ll play along:
Let’s get to work banning those abortions, then! Who is the left to think they know what’s best for a majority of Americans?
This “representative republic” thing must be new to liberals — give it time.
Of course, it is. It’s just not what the Iraqi leaders want, and the politicians call the shots, not pollsters.
So, Mac, it is intellectually vacant to base an entire line of argument on a single poll. Or, say, three. Good to know.
Wrong again. It’s intellectually vacant to pretend that democracy only works by making policy based on the recommendations of the man-on-the-street.
So, Mac only likes polls that agree with him. I’m shocked. At least, he’ll soon have nothing to say. Look, a jackalope!
Shhhhh, the smart people are talking.
Isn’t that exactly what democracy is though. The rule of the people? Substitute government in your sentence and it might not have been so ironic.
I’ll actually agree with this in part. California’s initiative system makes a lot of policies based on the recommendations of the man-on-the-street (shaped, no doubt, as much as possible by the politicians and the media but nevertheless…) and I’m not sure it’s a model that operates all that well.
But when the man in the White House says down is up, and the man in the street says, no it isn’t … you seem to conclude that it’s “intellectually vacant” to suggest that something is not seriously amiss after 3 years of bad and getting worse. What’s up with that?
Mac is right. Elected leaders call the shots.
Time for lessons learned. If you elect a leader that is a retard clearly without the mental capacity to formulate a plan of action beyond Stay the Course that is recognized as a disaster, you got what you voted for. Retard in, retard out.
Exactly. That’s why they’re the Deciders.
Polls only seem to matter when they yield the results the White House wants.
For example with Hamas. No one has even tried to argue they didin’t win— which should tell you plenty. But instead of saying, “we’ll hold our noses and try to harness in their non-military wing,” we flatly refused to deal with them. Worse, we let Israel abduct the Hamas part of the Palestinian parliament. So much for “democratizing” the Middle East.
This is fully as incredible to me as advocating the right to torture. Or burying a pre-emptive Bush pardon in the new legislation thereto related.
That these are odious, duplicitous people is now apparent. Even I didn’t
anticipate it could be this bad.
No country has a pure democracy. It’s too unwieldy. People elect leaders to represent them, and those representatives make policy decisions.
That’s not what I concluded at all — I have no idea where you got any of that from my posts.
That is redundant. You can leave it off in future. Thanks.
That should be on our coinage, if they ever want to replace “In God We Trust.”
I realise that Mac..I was just commenting on your sentence. You used the small d when you talked about the man on the street having a voice in democtacy..it just struck me as odd.
At what point and for how long does a citizenry put up with a government in a democracy when said government goes against their wishes on a huge scale. Should the government NEVER listen tp the people whne the majority of them say NO..NO MORE?
Talabani is just one voice, certainly a conflicted one in his government…a weak government representing a people that had American forces occupying them before the government was elected. I’d be listening if I was him.
It’s a long-held philosophical assumption that the members of the government have deeper and broader knowledge of the makings of policy, since that’s their job, than the average man on the street, whose time is assumed to be spent elsewhere than on public policy matters. That said, if the public’s sentiments cannot be swayed by the politicians and is strong enough to affect the next election, you can wager that politicians will listen to the people, if they value their jobs.
When I read about what Iraqis think about US withdrawl, it’s usually “They should withdraw…and then there will be a huge disaster in Iraq.” They accept that there will be a “lake of blood” in places like Baghdad if the US pulls out now, so I’m not sure they’re totally unwilling to listen to elected officials who tell them to be patient and we might avoid the disaster.
Fixed. Or rather, improved.
Mac…there is another long held philosophical belief..that politicians will be corrupt and self-interested and so need to be reminded that they work for us…Athens wasn’t a beacon of civil discourse. Not that I recommend returning to that, but I do get irritated when someone tells me that “The people spoke” in November of 2004 so STFU, which has happened to me, though not here.
But we aren’t talking about the USA, this is Iraq…and regardless of what Talabani has said and his own people’s need which is NOT the same as the rest of Iraq, I don’t know that HE is speaking for all the government. Kurdish Iraq is the only place, though it is still a majority that favours us leaving, where the people were more inclined to have us stay.
It’s just not what the Iraqi leaders want, and the politicians call the shots, not pollsters.
As long as they can get Diebold machines in there before the next election.
Bucket boy is such a dishonest creature. Perhaps he thinks we have forgotten how he us an old old Iraqi poll to bolster his argument of how well we were doing in Iraq and how Bush’s policy was working. Now he has changed his tune. What intellectual dishoensty.
Well your moral party holds all the reigns of government so why haven’t they outright banned abortion yet? Go ahead, make my day.
I missed the abortion thing. I didn’t realise the left was trying to force abortions on the “majority” of Americans. It’s that “choice” thing.
Mac, talking about cherry picking…you left out the part where 57% favour keeping it legal in ALL OR MOST CASES.
Wow. At last somebody is fact checking. Keith Olbermann is now officially must-see tv. His segment on the Bush administration’s efforts to address the terrorist threat during the first eight months was absolutely compelling.
Why gosh, if that is the only thing I had to say then I sure would feel chastened. Kind of like that year-old poll that you wave like a bloody shirt.
You also seem to misunderstand what Jalal Talabani actually said. If you think that his “proposal” remotely resembles staying the course then I have a bridge in Alaska to sell you.
Sojouner I agree about Olberman. He is showing what the media could and should be doing (to politicians of both sides I might add). He has been on fire lately. I’ve noticed that there are a few people out there that have come to realization of how dangerous this administration is – Olberman from the left and Andrew Sullivan from the right to name two. If Olberman is must see, Sullivan is must read.
You missed these poll numbers Tim:
Hey, if we keep “staying the course” perhaps we can get these numbers up a bit.
I stopped reading Sullivan when he discovered (GASP) that the Repubs are anti-gay. Looks like I need to check him out again.
It was indeed, and worth a second look even if you saw it earlier.
It makes me wonder why the rest of the “media” can’t find the chutzpah to do some actual journalism of their own.
Most of the media are nothing more than shills for staged verbal wrestling. Very few real reporters are left. I’ve heard an earful on this topic from one of my friends, who is an ex-UPI radio news reporter. All the reporters he knows from 15 years plus in the news business have been leaving the field.
No, no, no!!! We can’t leave Iraq because the Iraq people want us out. That would hand US foreign policy over to the Iraqis.
And, as everyone knows, it is Osama and Al Qaeda that set US foreign policy. As long as Al Qaeda considers Iraq the central front in the WOT and celebrates our presence there…. we will stay. I wonder when Osama is going to send us into Iran? Does someone have a poll of Al Qaeda members on these topics?
The main poll can be found here.
If you read the Iraqi interviews in the Washington Post article, many of these people are war-weary and confused. Some believe America is allowing the violence on purpose.
From the article:
These statements aren’t even self-consistent. How do you define “more problems” than a massacre?
Does any rational person really believe that the sectarian violence will go away if America pulls out? That al Qaeda will pull out and take up knitting?
“Hey, there mortal enemy of my people. The Americans are gone. I really love you guys, now.”
If we leave Iraq and the place goes up in flames, what do the people say who declared that only our presence was causing the violence? “Oops. My bad?”
Well, John, apparently the Iraqi public agrees with the Special Forces (who btw listen to the Iraqi public unlike our regular army)… the regular army forces create more insurgents by their presence. I suppose you guys remember the NY Times article discussing this a week ago? Don’t listen to the Army hacks calling for more regular forces. They are showing their prejudices towards their own, and are not acting in our nations best interest.
BTW, I wouldn’t put a lot of faith in any poll results like the supposed leaked State Dept poll where you can’t see which portion of the Iraqi public was being polled, what the polling methodologies were, etc. This WaPo has zero intellectual value without a full disclosure of the report. Utter piffle.
Indeed. So be quiet.
Meanwhile, when Newsweek says we might be losing Afghanistan, we must REALLY be losing Afghanistan. And whatever chance we had to win there has been lost with the failed expenditure of resources in Iraq.
Mind you I am making an assumption in saying Afghanistan could be won— an assumption I never made about Iraq. I am through with enumerating the plural mistakes we made in Iraq. There remains only one in the end: invading in the first place.
I don’t know. When you find a person who has actually said “only our presence was causing the violence”, why don’t you ask them what thier response would be. Then let us know what Mr. Strawman said.
Back it up with a link, big shot. Go ahead. You got nothing.