2006 August 23 Wednesday
Americans Disconnect Iraq From Fight Against Terrorists

The American people are slow learners.

WASHINGTON, Aug. 22 Americans increasingly see the war in Iraq as distinct from the fight against terrorism, and nearly half believe President Bush has focused too much on Iraq to the exclusion of other threats, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

The poll found that 51 percent of those surveyed saw no link between the war in Iraq and the broader antiterror effort, a jump of 10 percentage points since June.

53% say the war was a mistake. An even higher 62% say it is going badly. So then what do the other 38% think? Victory around the corner?

Public approval of Bush's handling of the fight against terrorists (the "Global War On Terror" or GWOT) rose. As the public disconnects Iraq from the terrorist threat it makes sense that the negative of Iraq would weight less on how they evaluate GWOT. What the public still needs to figure out: Keep Muslims out of the West and your risk of getting blown up goes down.

When will this shift in attitude lead to the start of a troop withdrawal? When the withdrawal comes which part of Iraq will first be abandoned to its fate? A Sunni area or a Shia area?

Update: The American public thinks US troops aren't preventing civil war.

The sectarian violence of recent weeks has further soured the American political mood. In Washington, there may be a debate over whether Iraq is engaged in a full-scale civil war - in the nation as a whole, a majority of respondents say a civil conflict is already occurring.

Sixty-three percent of respondents to a recent Pew Research poll say that the US is losing ground in its efforts to prevent civil war in Iraq. That represents a significant rise in pessimism from June's comparable figure of 50 percent.

"The optimism generated by the killing of [insurgent leader Abu Musab] al-Zarqawi in June has largely dissipated, especially with regard to the U.S.'s key objectives," judges a Pew Research report released last week.

The bad news will continue to mount and attitudes will continue to shift in response.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2006 August 23 06:10 AM  Mideast Iraq Exit Debate


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