Polling Iraqis: The Bad News

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Some grim news in Gallup polls from Iraq, as reported by the Cato Institute's Ted Galen Carpenter:

Take the question of whether Iraqis regard U.S. and allied forces as liberators or occupiers. Only 19 percent of respondents consider them liberators. The results are even more dismal when sentiment in the Kurdish region is excluded. Ninety-seven percent of Kurds view those forces as liberators. In the Sunni and Shiite regions that sentiment is 10 percent and 7 percent, respectively.

The belief that U.S. troops are occupiers rather than liberators has grown steadily, but it is not a new phenomenon. When asked how they had viewed coalition troops at the time of the invasion, 43 percent indicated that they had seen them as occupiers-the same percentage that regarded them as liberators. That result debunks the myth that the overwhelming majority of Iraqis welcomed the invasion…..

The poll results also belie the notion that a majority of Iraqis want U.S. and British troops to stay on for an extended period. Instead, 57 percent want those troops to leave "immediately." Again, the contrast between the opinion of Kurds and Arabs is striking. Only 3 percent of Kurds want the forces to depart immediately. In the Shiite areas, the sentiment is 61 percent and in the Sunni areas it is 65 percent. (And in Baghdad it is a stunning 75 percent).

Even more discouraging, support for armed attacks on coalition forces is not confined to a tiny minority of extremists as the Bush administration has insisted. Twenty-two percent of respondents stated that attacks were justified "sometimes," and another 29 percent endorsed attacks without any qualification.

Details on how the polling was done from Gallup here.

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  1. Let’s cut & run immediately, so that the Baathists, Al Qaida, Iranian-backed Shiite militia, Syrian expat scum and European arms dealers can get to work turning it into a vacation destination to rival mid-80’s Beirut, mid-90’s Sarajevo, or today’s Grozny.

    Don’t look at it as a failed military expedition; look at it as a grand experiment in anarchist libertarianism, where anybody who draws breath and can lift one of the plentiful guns can exercise their right to self-determination. Sounds like a recipe for heaven to me…

  2. You know, Stephen, they’re doing wonderful things with Paxil these days.

  3. Maybe we should give the people of Iraq some credit instead of treating them like a bunch of children who can’t handle their own business. It’s funny that the administration tries so hard to spin it like it’s not as bad as the media portrays it to be. Until of course the subject of withdraw comes up. Then Iraq becomes a place of chaos on the brink of total collapse.

  4. These particular poll results don’t mean too much since things will continue on schedule, no matter what those ungrateful bastards thinks. More important, the poll shows what does count–that they want freedom and democracy. Nothing else really matters as much.

  5. From the article:

    That result debunks the myth that the overwhelming majority of Iraqis welcomed the invasion…..

    No, it debunks the myth that the overwhelming majority of Iraqis still welcome the Americans. There’s a big difference between having welcomed the invasion and continuing to enjoy the Americans’ presence, right?

  6. Next time we should just cross the street and pretend we didn’t see anything.

  7. Whaddya mean, “The Bad News” about Iraq? Has there ever been any other kind?

  8. Xrig,

    Yeah, about 4000 years ago.

  9. To Captain

    how do these poll numbers show they want freedom and democracy?

    “Only 40 percent advocate the creation of a multiparty parliamentary democracy for Iraq”

    40 percent is not even a majority

    “The rest advocate systems ranging from the traditional “Islamic concept of mutual consultation,” to a conservative Islamic kingdom like Saudi Arabia, to an Islamic theocracy like Iran.”

    the other 60 percent want islamic rule/statism of one sort of another

    “These particular poll results don’t mean too much since things will continue on schedule,”

    So a majority of Iraqis don’t want the U.S. occupying their country to bring them freedom and democracy but we’ll continue on schedule anyway and shove it down their throats!

  10. It continues to amaze me how hawks jump on these threads like ducks on a june bug.

    Bush’s Crusade is as wrong-headed as the ones back in… about a thousand years ago.

    The only solution is to be kind to our web-footed friends, for a terrorist may be some mother’s son/daughter.

    Take a terrorist to lunch.

  11. There seems to be a world of difference between the mentality of the Kurds and that of everybody else over there. Remind me again why we don’t just slice off the northern Kurdish part — you know, the part populated by people who are serious about running a peaceful modern state — and recognize it as a sovereign nation? Iraq has to remain whole …. to appease who? Turkey? Last I remember their government and people made a show of giving us the finger when we asked for their help. I mean, if Iraq is committed to going to hell in a handbasket, the least we could do is to make it as small a handbasket as possible.

  12. c-

    Well, the most obvious answer to your questions would be that we give our word, and some of us Americans still have principles. It would also be greivous betrayal of Tony Blair, who is the only Hawk’s reasoning I respected, even as I disagreed with it.

    Also, your scenario has a reasonable chance of inciting a Turkish-Syrian-Iraqi-Isreali-Iranian-Pakistani-Indian-Chechen-Russian General Nightmare.

  13. How many more lives, and how many more American lives is it worth to get those poll numbers up some where close to the respectable range so the war’s supporters can say, “see, it’s working”?

    The sooner we bring our troops home from this disgrace, the sooner they will quit being killed and maimed without just cause.

    Now it’s WAY past time for our government to leave Iraq. What reasonably expected result could possibly justify the further expected (even greater in light of the growing torture scandal) loss of American life?

    Please contact your congressperson and senators and tell them:

    http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/

  14. Anybody know of any good academic papers or solid essays online exploring the reasons (cultural, social, genetic, whatever) that some of us humans really dig liberty and individualism, while other humans can’t really put their heads around the concept — and even reject it?

    I’m not being facetious. Am truly interested in any such attempted analyses.

  15. On the question of wanting the troops to leave immediately:

    In the Shiite areas, the sentiment is 61 percent and in the Sunni areas it is 65 percent. (And in Baghdad it is a stunning 75 percent)

    That’s the desire of the people of Iraq. Our government has no ethical justification to force its occupation on them. Nor, did it ever have any ethical justification to force us to pay for it, even if the poll results showed that the great majority of the people of Iraq just loved US troops being in their country.

  16. Sam I Was,

    That’s a very interesting question. Also, is there a commonality among individuals who embrace liberty and individualism in freer societies and those who do so in less free societies?

    If I can find any resources that address your question I’ll post back here even if this blog thread has gone into archive. Hopefully others will too.

    BTW, this sound like a very encouraging development:

    http://www.minaret.org/

    Our dual mission at the Minaret of Freedom Institute is to educate Muslims on the importance of liberty and free markets to a good society, while educating non-Muslims about the beliefs and contributions of Islam and the political realities of conflict between the two cultures.

  17. I don’t know if there’s any way to not be seen as retreating under fire short of killing everyone there. Seems like getting France and the UN involved only spreads out who gets to seen as retreating under fire. Guess maybe that would help a tiny bit.

  18. Captain:

    “Barton and Gunnels–hardly a decent point between you.”

    Were this true, you would likely offer more in the way of refutation and less in merley nay-saying. Also, many points you simply ignored, as if that somehow neuters their voracity.

    “Cutting and running means… countless deaths.”

    Although this is less hysterical than your previous claim of: “millions more dead in the Mideast and later millions dead in America”, I reckon you just write whatever baseless hyperbole you think you can slip by everyone.

    It is only a threat to US security that could justify our government’s continued presence in Iraq. But, there is no threat, and there never was.

    Also, you’re going to have to do better than just invoking a threat from the “terrorists”, and if they acquire WMD in Iraq that can actually threaten the US, they are going to have to get them from the US military.

    “But staying there for a few years as the necessary muscle backup…”

    Having our government’s military “stay for a few years”, is to increase the chances of it getting into another war not in this country’s interest, such as with Syria, and even if that didn’t happen it would, in all likelihood, condemn more Americans to needless injury and death.

    “Barton, saying “we” aren’t there, just our government is, to put charitably, a pointless comment. (Really it’s much dumber.)”

    The point is obvious and critical. I assume that you’re an adult and I really shouldn’t have to explain this to you but; only the government could force an invasion and continued occupation of Iraq. That is a huge difference. It was the government that acted on lies and invaded, and has closed down news organs in Iraq, and now tortured prisoners. It wasn’t “we” who committed these crimes it was the government.

    It’s time for the government to leave and let freely choosing Americans who want to help the Iraqi people recover from the war get involved. Capitalism and honest charitable intentions will do much better than the military occupation by the Iraqi people’s desires.

    “Iraq,… may be changed to a free country”

    How “free”? As “free” as Egypt? How many more American lives would it be worth to you to have an Iraqi government on par with say, the brutal Egyptian Regime?– to which our government commits three or four billion dollars every year.

    Is it realistic to expect that our government can “make” the Iraqis any more free than the Egyptians even if it really wanted to? Again, how many lives and American lives would it be worth?

    Or, could the government make Iraq as “free” as Jordan, that receives US tax support, or as “free” as the Palestinian’s, whose brutal occupation by the racist Sharon regime is the US government’s most expensive foreign aid commitment by far.

  19. Rick,

    20+ dead children in Gaza today. Killed by “warning shots” from tanks, a helicopter, and machine gun.

    The best possible spin on this is “the soldiers did what they had to do in that situation.” Which is why you don’t go getting yourself into those situations.

  20. We’ll wind up with the best governed Arab country in the region. That’s not saying much but it is a great improvement. Why the need to cut and run when June 30 is only 40 fucking days away. A slow wind down of military presence after that and elections then some modest basing rights. Its not complicated people. In the case of these polls I would say the majority is silent. We all know how bad they want us out that’s Why Sistani has called for Jihad against when we had our troops fighing the Mehdi Army within 500 metres of his fucking Mosque. Didn’t he? Wait a minute…

  21. Stephen,

    “We have no right to force freedom and tolerance on these people.”

    Actually that’s right, but do you really think that the government can force freedom and tolerance anyway?

    “It will be a restoration of the Caliphate.”

    Note that a restoration of the Caliphate was the neocon’s end game vision of this needless war of theirs.

  22. matt,

    If we’re turning over sovereignty on June 30, how do we know there’ll ever be elections after that? If we’re not turning over sovereignty on June 30, what difference does it make that it’s only 40 days away?

  23. Captain,

    “Cutting and running is not an option, unless you think millions more dead in the Mideast and later millions dead in America is desirable.”

    Can you prove that? This sounds like hyperbolic non-sense.

    “We’re there, we might as well try to do it right and it’s beyond sick that so many apparently don’t even want to try.”

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions; in other words, “doing something” can create more harm than “doing nothing” in many instances.

    “My main objection to the ‘occupation’ so far is we’ve been too considerate of the natives…”

    Spoken like a true imperialist. Once you start thinking of them as “wogs,” you’ve lost any right think of yourself as a liberator.

    “Polls would have shown in 1776 that most in the American Colonies didn’t want to break from Britain.”

    Actually historians have consistently demonstrated a split along three lines – those who favored a Revolution, those who oppose it, and those that didn’t care either way. Each group made up approximately 1/3 of the population.

    “But I’m not comparing the two situations–the argument for freedom in Iraq today is incomparably better.”

    Sure you’re comparing the situations; why would you otherwise try to analogize? The problem of course with the analogy is that the Revolution was not foisted on Americans by some outside force. The factual predicates of these events are very different.

  24. “Cutting and running” is an option, and it is not a cowardly one, because we have done our job. This nation building crap is nonsense, and the results of this poll just prove this. Let them fight for their own way of life, whatever that may be. Saddam Hussain is gone. His sons are dead. His regime has collapsed. WMD stockpiles are nowhere to be found (whether they were never there or were moved is irrelivent). If “the Baathists, Al Qaida, Iranian-backed Shiite militia, Syrian expat scum” come creeping back in, so what? Let the Iraqies get a spine, and stand up to these thugs. Let them fight for their own liberty and freedom, they no longer have Saddamn to keep them down. (And there seems to be an abudance of arms available) I’m sure the Kurds will hold their own in the north, and if al-Qaida tries to creep back in up there, they will show them the Kurdish boot. As for the rest, I can only hope that human liberty and good will prevail. If it does not, if it becomes another lawless haven where terrorist camps start popping up, WMDs start making their way back in, and the oil-wealth gets seized by terrorist elements, there is nothing to say we can’t go back, and wipe them out. We have the most powerful arsenal of weapons known to man. We can come back and obliterate them in less than a month, then leave immediatly. If the Iraqi people don’t want to stand up to terrorist thugs, and rejoin the family of man, we can keep coming back and doing it for them as often as needed. We don’t need to stay there like sitting ducks and try to ‘create a democracy’. And that will go for ALL of these piece of shit countries; either deal with these thuggish animals yourselves, or we will do it for you. Jordan and Kuwait seem to have gotten the picture.

    Will this inflame the al-Jazeera-brainwashed Arab-world against us?

    Ask me if I care.

  25. Because that’s what’s been agreed to. Simple as that. Transitional Gov’t June 30 and elections in January of 2005, if not sooner, with a new constitution. Notice the debates about the constitution were about the specific points of the consitution not whether there should be a constitution at all. That’s progress in the Arab world writ large. All the parties that wan’t the Koran to be the consitution were sidelined or have bought into this process. In that regard, I’m still skeptical about SCIRI, but they likely see the powser of legitimacy in being elected than they do in trying to force something with the Badr Brigade and violence.

    Progress baby. PROGRESS.

    Like this, to be taken with a graion of salt, to be sure… “the US-appointed retired major-general, Mohammed Abdul-Latif, seems to be having a calming effect on the locals: “We can make [the US] use their rifles against us or we can make them build our country, it’s your choice,” he has told “a gathering of more than 40 sheikhs, city council members and imams in an eastern Fallujah suburb… As he spoke, many sheikhs nodded in approval and listened with reverence. Later, they clasped his hands and patted him on the back.”

  26. The war has quickly demonstrated what arrogance and a lack of understanding of your enemy can create. This arrogance is compounded by Bush’s God has given me a permission slip approach to war-making. The lack of understanding is illustrated by the naive notions that the removal of a dictator in a few short days or weeks would end the struggle there (evidence of this attitude may still be hanging from the conning tower of an aircraft carrier).

  27. Barton and Gunnels–hardly a decent point between you.

    Cutting and running means we’ll leave the place in a state of anarchy with different factions ready to kill (or be killed) leading the countless deaths. Also destabilizing the area in a bad way and leading to a great victory for terrorists, who will have an open and wonderful front to prepare plot, and countless weapons including WMDs to use. This is perfectly rational extension of what’s going on. But staying there for a few years as the necessary muscle backup, so they can learn to take care of themselves–having the proper training, weapons and balance–rather than collapse and be invaded, can work.

    Barton, saying “we” aren’t there, just our government is, to put charitably, a pointless comment. (Really it’s much dumber.) As far as being tough with them (to ultimately be kind) history has shown how well this can work, as in WWII to pick the most obvious example (though I think just the situation in the Middle East the past few decades would be enough to teach us this with no historical lessons.) You’re wrong about 1776. About a third wanted revolution, a third didn’t, and a third didn’t want trouble. It varied from colony to colony, but no majority wanted to openly fight. The reason freedom is Iraq is better is our enemy was a free country, Britain, that had decent arguments on our behalf (we just wanted more money) and sooner or later we would have been freed from them, just as Canada was, but with less violence. Iraq, on the other hand, was a brutal dictatorship that may be changed to a free country, and that could be a turning point in a region where terrorism and Nazi-like racism are the norm–here’s a true chance to get at the “root causes” of so many troubles in the world.

    Gunnels, even if “doing nothing” were ever the right choice (or even a possibility, which I deny), that time has passed. We’ve done quite a bit, and to abandon any hope now would be terrible, for them and for us. I’m no imperialist (in fact, anti-war arguers would do well to drop the “I” word since it’s just a way of avoiding the real issues, and has nothing to do with what’s going on, but I’m not gonna waste my time on that argument, which is only what the fringe claim), it’s just idiotic to be willing to fight a war and then be weak when you should be strong; I’m also not afraid to say that democracy is better than theocracy, and putting our weight behind it is not only not objectionable, but a sensible strategy and good for everyone involved. Thanks for agreeing with me (as opposed to Barton) on how the Colonies felt–note there’s more support for the revolution now in Iraq than there was in the US back then; also note that with just a little wish for Democracy, and a bunch of groups who don’t agree, you can hammer out something that might work, as long as most don’t believe in violence to bring down the government, so I’m not worried if there are a bunch of different groups with different feelings in Iraq, that’s a good thing.

  28. Rick Barton,

    “I don’t think so. By 1776, there was wide spread popular sentiment for the revolution. The reservations were mostly held by elites that benefited from the Crown.”

    That’s largely a myth created by post-war propaganda. Those who remained loyal to the crown did so largely for reasons which were not venal in character – out of patriotic duty to the duty; out love of Britain; etc. Indeed, it should be noted that when Britain started its policy of emancipating runaway slaves, it was slave-owners, in a bid to save their “property,” who switched sides. So if venality was an issue, it was so for both sides.

  29. Captain, “Cutting and running means we’ll leave the place in a state of anarchy with different factions ready to kill ”
    Let them kill each other! Sooner or later they will find some compromise.

    “..who will have an open and wonderful front to prepare plot, and countless weapons including WMDs to use…”

    It will take years for them to rebuild any kind of significant threat. And when they do, we’ll obviously know, and be able to stamp it out again.

    “necessary muscle backup, so they can learn to take care of themselves–having the proper training, weapons and balance–”

    You can train them until you are blue in the face, but if they aren’t willing to grow a pair, and stand up and fight for themselves, it ain’t gonna happen.

    “..and to abandon any hope now would be terrible, for them and for us.”
    No, it would potentinally be terrible for them. And while I feel sorry for them, I also feel sorry for the millions of people living under terrible conditions around the third-world. Yeah, a democracy is better than a theocracy, no doubt. But our military is meant to defend OUR democracy. I cannot find in my copy of the US Constiution where it says the federal government’s role is to roam the world changing theocracies into democracies.

  30. On the popular support in 1776 for the American Revolution :

    It’s not ideological considerations that lead me to believe that by 1776, the revolution had wide spread popular support. I’ve read the; “third, third, third” estimation before but never any strong justification for it, at least not as late as 1776.

    The commitment of the other Colonies to send troops to aid Mass. after Lexington was way oversubscribed by volunteers in every region.

    The wild and ever increasing popularity, as evidenced by newspapers, library inventories and pamphlets of colonial America of the libertarian Cato’s Letters by Trenchard and Gordon is indicative of the wide spread support of the revolution. See:The English Libertarian Heritage Ed. David Jacobson, and also: Seedtime of the Republic by Clinton Rossiter.

    Bernard Bailyn notes that Catos Letters “were quoted again and again in every colonial newspaper from Boston to Savanna”, in his The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution

    In the spring of 1775 General Gage, the imperial governor of Mass. complained that he could find no support among the common people of Mass. even in Boston where he was a virtual prisoner in his own capital to their hostility. See: Chronicles of the American Revolution Ed. Alden T. Vaughan

  31. Joe:

    “There is a real danger that an American withdrawal will be seen as retreating under fire.”

    Or, the government can just make the justified claim that it may not force Americans to support the occupation in view of the fact that Iraq is no longer (I’m being really charitable here) a threat to US security.

  32. What joe said at 01:57 PM, which was:

    “20+ dead children in Gaza today. Killed by “warning shots” from tanks, a helicopter, and machine gun.”

    “The best possible spin on this is “the soldiers did what they had to do in that situation.” Which is why you don’t go getting yourself into those situations.”

  33. Captain,

    “Barton and Gunnels–hardly a decent point between you.”

    Well, that’s your assertion at least.

    “Cutting and running means we’ll leave the place in a state of anarchy with different factions ready to kill (or be killed) leading the countless deaths.”

    And how is that any different than what is happening in situ today?

    “Also destabilizing the area in a bad way and leading to a great victory for terrorists…”

    Chuckle. The American presence by itself is a de-stabilizing force. BTW, falling back on that old line was I thought a no no in the pro-war world.

    “…who will have an open and wonderful front to prepare plot, and countless weapons including WMDs to use.”

    That’s at best speculation.

    “…even if “doing nothing” were ever the right choice (or even a possibility, which I deny), that time has passed.”

    Its the most beneficial thing to do in many situations.

    “We’ve done quite a bit, and to abandon any hope now would be terrible, for them and for us.”

    That merely speaks to the issue of investment, and is a bit of special pleading; it doesn’t speak to the costs and benefits of withdrawl.

    “I’m no imperialist…”

    Sure you are; thus your comments about the “natives.”

    “…(in fact, anti-war arguers would do well to drop the “I” word since it’s just a way of avoiding the real issues, and has nothing to do with what’s going on, but I’m not gonna waste my time on that argument, which is only what the fringe claim)…”

    If you’re not willing to discuss the “I” word, then it appears that the only one here really avoiding something is you.

    “…it’s just idiotic to be willing to fight a war and then be weak when you should be strong…”

    Actually, its idiotic to act contrary to your interests just to “save face.”

    “…I’m also not afraid to say that democracy is better than theocracy, and putting our weight behind it is not only not objectionable, but a sensible strategy and good for everyone involved.”

    Those are just your policy preferences; whether they reflect the facts on the ground is another matter. Given that 60% of the non-Kurd Iraqis argue against you is indicative that you are living in a fantasy land.

    “Thanks for agreeing with me (as opposed to Barton) on how the Colonies felt…”

    Ideology doesn’t color my views.

    “…note there’s more support for the revolution now in Iraq…”

    What “revolution?” A revolution connotes an indigenous revolt. The only indigenous revolt occuring in Iraq right is that perpetrated by people the U.S. doesn’t like.

    In the rest of your comments you appear to be merely grasping at straws.

  34. I largely agree with pdog. Pull on out and allow those who now have the opportunity (the first opportunity in 30 years) to bring about real freedom and plurality to Iraq stand and take charge. Let the chips fall where they may.

  35. I’m starting to side with Rick in this debate. We have no right to force freedom and tolerance on these people.

    If it is a mullahocracy they want, we should help them achieve it. Let’s scour the region for a good example of the breed, and install him as the maximum leader. Once the beheadings, mutilations, torture (real serious torture, like pulling tongues out with vice grips and the like), oppression of women, and calls for holy war start, they should be happy. It will be a restoration of the Caliphate.

    Hey, I hear Mullah Omar is looking for work…

  36. Rick:

    “Polls would have shown in 1776 that most in the American Colonies didn’t want to break from Britain.”

    I don’t think so. By 1776, there was wide spread popular sentiment for the revolution. The reservations were mostly held by elites that benefited from the Crown.

    This is entirely false. Where did you get this information? Obviously, hard data don’t exist for the period, but it is my understand that historians? best guess regarding public opinion is roughly third-third-third — that is, about a third supporting the Revolution, about third against, and about a third in the backcountry and frontier who didn’t much care because they figured either the Crown or the Eastern elites would continue to find ways to oppress them.

    This is not an irrelevant debater?s point. Snapshot polling and guesswork during a war tells us little about its likely consequences over time, or even its justification. Reality is messy.

  37. Captain, I never realized so many National Review writers were part of the left wing fringe.

    What Empire didn’t fight most of its overseas wars of conquest in order to prevent some other power from using the area as a power base?

  38. I noticed Bremer said that plans were still in place for turning over sovereignty on June 30 and holding elections next year. If Iraq is sovereign on June 30, how do we know they’ll be holding elections next year? Wouldn’t that be up to them? I used be in the “finish the job” camp, but I’m moving more and more towards the “cut and run” POV. But it really doesn’t matter cause it ain’t gonna happen. We’ll probably hanging around long enough to screw things up and piss Iraqis off royally and then leave with our tails between our legs at an inopportune time and look even worse for it. I’m such an optimist……

  39. Captain:
    “but there should be more telling them what to do and less worrying about their tender feelings. If we can get a democracy up and running”

    How can you get from “telling them what to do” to “get a democracy up”?

  40. Sorry, I based my data on actual Gallup polls, not Cato Institute anti-war articles discussing the polls.

    Cutting and running is not an option, unless you think millions more dead in the Mideast and later millions dead in America is desirable. We’re there, we might as well try to do it right and it’s beyond sick that so many apparently don’t even want to try.

    My main objection to the “occupation” so far is we’ve been too considerate of the natives–we’re there for them, but there should be more telling them what to do and less worrying about their tender feelings. If we can get a democracy up and running, they’ll be too busy dealing with their own problems to cause any of the trouble Cato sits in fear of.

    Polls would have shown in 1776 that most in the American Colonies didn’t want to break from Britain. But I’m not comparing the two situations–the argument for freedom in Iraq today is incomparably better.

  41. There is a real danger that an American withdrawal will be seen as retreating under fire. In order to avoid this, we need to have other countries, especially those in NATO and Middle Eastern regional powers, giving us the proper political cover, so it is clear that we are not leaving a power vacuum for the insurgents to fill. It would be nice if there was a liberal democratic Iraqi government that had the authority, legitimacy, and power to take the reins, but that’s not going to happen.

    But sadly, I think American hawks would rather see our country humiliated than see the UN and France treated with the level of respect necessary to pull this off.

  42. Rick at 4:40 –

    That’s no doubt how the US will describe its withdrawal when it finally occurs. The insurgents and jihadists will describe it as a retreat under fire, just like Somalia and Beirut. So we’ll have dueling interpretations, each side trying to push its message to the fore. That’s why we need the UN to back us up, in order to win the PR war.

    Barak did the right thing getting out of Lebanon, but the way he went about it, the impression he left in the minds of Hizballah, Hamas, Fatah etc., was a disaster. We need to learn from that, as we figure out how to get out of our own Lebanon.

  43. Joe,

    I’m not so concerned about the US government saving face here since the whole endeavor was based on lies in the first place. I just want our government to leave. You know, fair is fair.

    In the May 13 New York Review of Books
    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/17103

    …Peter Galbraith writes about how to get out in which he espouses a “three state solution”, One for the Kurds, a Shiite state in the south and a Sunni one in the north.

    I don’t like the UN…
    http://www.thenewamerican.com/tna/2003/05-05-2003/vo19no09_rip.htm

    …and would not want to inflict them on the Iraqis. If a new occupying force were to come in, hopefully very temporarily, the French government would be cool with me.

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