2004 June 29 Tuesday
Support For Bush Declines Over Iraq War Doubts

Most Americans think the war in Iraq has not been worth it.

President Bush's job-approval rating has fallen to the lowest level of his presidency, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll. It found Americans stiffening their opposition to the Iraq war, worried that the invasion could invite domestic terrorist attacks and skeptical whether the White House has been fully truthful about the war or about prison abuses at Abu Ghraib.

A majority of people in the poll, conducted before Monday's hand-over of power to an interim Iraqi government, said the war was not worth its cost in American lives and that the Bush administration did not have a clear plan to restore order to Iraq.

A Scripps/Howard poll found similar results.

Participants in the poll were asked, "Despite everything that has happened, do you think the United States has done a good thing or a bad thing by sending our military to occupy Iraq?" Forty-six percent said commitment of troops was a good thing, 43 percent said it was a bad thing and 11 percent were undecided or gave other responses such as "it's too soon to tell" or "something had to be done, but it's been handled the wrong way."

Fifty-two percent said commitment of troops was "a good thing" in February's survey.

A very notable conservative figure has joined the ranks of those who now regret the decision to invade Iraq. William F. Buckley, just now retiring and giving up control of the National Review, says knowing what we know now the overthrow of Saddam Hussein does not seem worth it.

"With the benefit of minute hindsight, Saddam Hussein wasn't the kind of extra-territorial menace that was assumed by the administration one year ago," Mr. Buckley said. "If I knew then what I know now about what kind of situation we would be in, I would have opposed the war."

In order to be reelected Bush needs for the economy to grow and for the death toll in Iraq to go down. Though I can see one other way he could still pull off a victory: An Al Qaeda attack near the election may shift the national mood in such a hawkish direction that Bush may gain from his more hawkish stance. Plus, the public tends to rally around the President at a time of national crisis. So events could still shift the election Bush's way.

Kerry's problem seems to be that whenever attention shifts to Kerry his popularity suffers. So Kerry is probably better off if events keep the focus shifted on Bush, especially if the events are from the Middle East and bad news.

A successful terrorist attack against Saudi oil facilities that damaged actual equipment (rather than killing Westerners) would work in Kerry's favor. Higher oil prices would hurt the economy and the high gasoline prices would be a daily reminder for everyone driving around in a car that their own economic situation is getting worse. Also, the knowledge that heavy US involvement in Iraq didn't prevent an oil supply disruption would weigh against Bush.

Because of the huge role that events can play between now and election day this election is hard to call.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2004 June 29 03:19 PM  Politics American Domestic

JustAnOrdinaryAmerican said at June 29, 2004 10:49 PM:

So the American people are finally waking up to the fact that Bush's war is based on a lie. No WMD, no connection between Iraq and 9/11. As we now know from numerous sources, getting rid of Saddam Hussein was always a Bush goal, even before 9/11. Bush cynically used 9/11-based fearmongering to bamboozle a freightened American public, and apparently the mainstream American news media as well, into believing that Saddam posed such a threat that war with Iraq was necessary. Now, after almost 1000 American deaths in Iraq, not to mention the deaths of thousands of innocent Iraqis, even conservative Republicans like Buckley are beginning to realize that the war was a mistake.

The world is not safer from terrorism today because of the Iraq war. Instead of eliminating terrorists, the Iraqi invasion has served only to recruit new terrorists to the cause. Iraq has become a magnet for terrorists, instead of the shining new bastion of democracy that the niave, arrogant neocons thought it would become. So we've taken a stable country run by a tyrant and turned it into an unstable country overrun by terrorists. Good work, Mr. President. If the Iraqi people want democracy, it's up to them to make it happen. Not us.

The prison abuse scandal has brought great dishonor to this country, caused not only by the behaviors of a few privates at the bottom, but also the policies set at the top. Besides the destruction of America's credibility and prestige around the world that the war has caused, Bush has also abused the US military. Remember them - they're supposed to protect us from bad guys. Those men and women who volunteer to serve in the military at least deserve to expect that their commander-in-chief won't put them in harm's way, except as a final, last resort. Does anyone really believe that Bush and his neocon pals tried to avoid a war with Iraq? And on top of that, Bush wants to extend the soldier's tours of duty, and reduce their benefits.

The Iraq war was an unnecessary distraction from the true fight against terrorism, not to mention a severe drain on the resources of this country and the military. The removal of Saddam Hussein has not made the world into a safer place, but instead has created new terrorists and enemies for the US. President Bush made an incredible blunder by invading Iraq. He deserves to pay the price by being soundly defeated in November.

Invisible Scientist said at June 29, 2004 11:04 PM:

Paradoxically, the Republicans have colluded with oil companies to suppress alternative
energy sources, effectively becoming un-American traitors themselves, even more so than the

Do a Google search on "Integral Fast Reactor", and "Westinghouse Reactor", the latest
nuclear reactors have reached an evolutionary critical point where they are 100 times more
fuel efficient, they breed their own fuel along the way, and they also burn the long term
nuclear waste, leaving behind only the kind of short term waste with half-life less than 300 years.
We can thus have unlimited and safe energy competitive with coal fired plants, and there
are zinc-air fuel cells that can be charged with this new electricity (see the Electric Fuel Corporation
by doing a Google search, where they demonstrated a zinc-air fuel cell powered pure electric bus
in New York, operating the entire day.)

A Manhattan Project for energy would cost less than the war in Iraq.

McLarenF1 said at July 2, 2004 10:22 AM:

So, it seems the DNC and Michael Moore have spoken. Let's try to put things in rational perspective. I'm pretty sure that the world was more dangerous after we declared war on Italy, Germany, and Japan.

The world will be safer in the long run without Saddam in power. Instead of a safe haven and sponsor of terrorism, Iraq will now be a partner in the war on terror. Is this a bad thing? To some it seems so. Bush never said Iraq was linked to 9/11. He said Iraq was linked to terrorism. He was right. You guys were wrong.

As far as removing Bush from power, is it not obvious to you Kerry-types that he will have the exact same policy regarding Iraq? He's not going to pull US troops out before the security situation is stable. So, you'll get the same policy regardless of who is in the White House. Let's be honest--this is about a fight for ideals. You guys want to appease and hope nobody attacks or hates us. We "neocons" choose to tackle problems head-on and solve them. Islamic extremism isn't going away any time soon, so what makes you think that a policy of standing by and waiting for the benevolence of dictators is going to make the US any safer?

JustAnOrdinaryAmerican said at July 2, 2004 10:10 PM:

The world will be safer in the long run without Saddam in power? How do you know? You are making a lot of questionable assumptions. The invasion by American (read Christian) forces into Iraq, which is said to be the second holiest Islamic place, has inflamed Muslim passions against the US. The images of American female soldiers leading naked Iraqi men around on leashes has only added to the hostility towards the US, not to mention the unfounded arrests and imprisonment of many Iraqis at Abu Ghraib. And what about the thousands of Iraqis killed by both American bombs and terrorists bombings? Many Iraqis blame the US for failing to provide security. Again, more hostility to America. The invasion of Iraq has not reduced the number of terrorists in the world, or made the world safer. It has only served to recruit more terrorists and is causing more anger and distrust of America throughout the world.

Not too many people complained when the US invaded Afghanistan and kicked out the Taliban. That's because most people understood that the Taliban harbored and supported al Qaeda terrorists. But the same is not true of Iraq. People are now beginning to understand, if they hadn't already, that Bush manipulated the truth to create the justification for his invasion of Iraq. Oh, first it was WMD. We had to disarm "the dictator." When that didn't pan out, we had to remove "the dictator" and give the Iraqis a taste of democracy. You seem to believe that we will win the hearts and minds of the Iraqis because they will suddenly realize that "democracy" is so much superior to their existing way of life and will become our partners against terrorism. You neocons also thought the Iraqis would greet us with rose petals in the streets, but the reality has proved to be far different.

Bush should have continued to concentrate on decapitating (if I may use that term) al Qaeda, instead of allowing his personal hatred of Saddam Hussein to cloud his judgement. But even if you support the idea of invading Iraq to get rid of Saddam, the utter incompetence of the Bush administration in failing to win the peace and plan an exit strategy is inexcusable. Bush was oh-so macho and smirkingly arrogant in spurning the UN and our traditional European allies. Now that "bring 'em on" Bush realizes that the US can't handle Iraq alone, he is practically begging the rest of the world to help. Is that what you neocons mean by "tackling problems head-on and solving them?"

Sure, Islamic extremism wasn't going to go away anytime soon. But to deliberately provoke increased Islamic extremism by invading a Muslim country that was not a threat to the US, and that had no ties to 9/11, smacks of gross incompetence. I don't need Michael Moore to tell me that, although he does a pretty good job of it. And if the neocons didn't realize how the Muslim world would react to the invasion of Iraq, that simply demonstrates the neocon's detachment from reality.

You may be right about one thing. Kerry may continue Bush's policies. I would have preferred Howard Dean.

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