[lit-ideas] Just go.

  • From: "Andreas Ramos" <andreas@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "Lit-Ideas" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 16 Jun 2004 09:37:12 -0700

Poll of Iraqis Reveals Anger Toward U.S.
By JOHN SOLOMON, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - A poll of Iraqis commissioned by the U.S.-governing authority has 
provided the
Bush administration a stark picture of anti-American sentiment - more than half 
of Iraqis
believe they would be safer if U.S. troops simply left.

The poll, commissioned by the Coalition Provisional Authority last month but 
not released to
the American public, also found radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is surging in 
popularity, 92
percent of Iraqis consider the United States an occupying force and more than 
half believe
all Americans behave like those portrayed in the Abu Ghraib prison abuse photos.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of a multimedia presentation about the 
poll that was
shown to U.S. officials involved in developing Iraq (news - web sites) policy. 
officials said in interviews the results reinforced feelings that the transfer 
of power and
security responsibilities to the Iraqis can't come too soon. "If you are 
sitting here as
part of the coalition, it (the poll) is pretty grim," said Donald Hamilton, a 
career foreign
service officer who is working for Ambassador Paul Bremer's interim government 
and helps
oversee the CPA's polling of Iraqis. "While you have to be saddened that our 
intentions have
been misunderstood by a lot of Iraqis, the truth of the matter is they have a 
inclination toward the things that have the potential to bring democracy here," 
he said in a
telephone interview Tuesday from Baghdad.

Hamilton noted the poll found 63 percent of Iraqis believed conditions will 
improve when an
Iraqi interim government takes over June 30, and 62 percent believed it was 
"very likely"
the Iraqi police and Army will maintain security without U.S. forces. State 
spokesman Richard Boucher said, "Let's face it. That's the goal, to build those 
up to the
point where they can take charge in Iraq and they can maintain security in 

The poll, conducted by Iraqis in face-to-face interviews in six cities with 
representative of the country's various factions, conflict with the generally 
assessments the administration continues to give Americans. Just last week, 
President Bush
(news - web sites) predicted future generations of Iraqis "will come to America 
and say,
thank goodness America stood the line and was strong and did not falter in the 
face of the
violence of a few."

The current generation seems eager for Americans to leave, the poll found. The 
confidence rating in May stood at 11 percent, down from 47 percent in November, 
coalition forces had just 10 percent support. Nearly half of Iraqis said they 
felt unsafe in
their neighborhoods.

And 55 percent of Iraqis reported to the pollsters they would feel safer if 
U.S. troops
immediately left, nearly double the 28 percent who felt that way in January. 
percent said Americans should leave immediately, and 45 percent said they 
preferred for U.S.
forces to leave as soon as a permanent Iraqi govermnment is installed. "To a 
certain degree
it is self-evident that Iraqis have lost some confidence in us, particularly in 
our ability
to protect them," Hamilton said.

Frustration over security was made worse this spring by revelations of sexual 
and physical
abuse of Iraqis by U.S. guards at the Abu Ghraib prison. The poll, taken in 
mid-May shortly
after the controversy began, found 71 percent of Iraqis said they were 
surprised by the
humiliating photos and tales of abuse at the hands of Americans, but 54 percent 
said they
believed all Americans behave like the guards. The prison scandal has also 
become fodder in
the United States, as Democratic challenger John Kerry (news - web sites) 
accuses Bush of
failing to set a proper moral tone. "I think the president is underestimating 
the full
affect of what has happened in the world to our reputation because of that 
prison scandal,"
Kerry said Tuesday.

Anger at Americans was evident in other aspects of the poll, including a rapid 
rise in
popularity for al-Sadr, the Muslim cleric who has been leading insurgents 
fighting U.S.-led
coalition forces. The poll reported that 81 percent of Iraqis said they had an 
opinion of al-Sadr in May from three months earlier, and 64 percent said the 
acts of his
insurgents had made Iraq more unified. However, only 2 percent said they would 
al-Sadr for president, even less than the 3 percent who expressed support for 
the deposed
Saddam Hussein (news - web sites).

The coalition's Iraq polling of 1,093 adults selected randomly in six cities - 
Basra, Mosul, Diwaniyah, Hillah and Baquba was taken May 14-23 and had a margin 
of potential
sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. Crucial details on the 
methodology of
the coalition's polling were not provided, including how samples were drawn. 
The most recent
independent polling by Gallup found more than half of Iraqis want U.S. and 
British troops to
leave the country within the next few months. An Oxford International poll 
taken in February
for ABC News and several networks from other countries found a higher level of 
optimism than
more recent polling taken after months of bombings and other violence. Still, 
only a quarter
of those polled by Oxford said they had confidence in coalition forces to meet 
their needs,
far behind Iraqi religious leaders, police, and soldiers.

On the Net: The poll results are available in slide form at:

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