The Iraq War at Four: "We Are in Hell"


Four years after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, Iraqis describe daily lives that have been torn apart by spiraling violence and a faltering economy. The bursts of optimism reported in a 2004 public-opinion survey taken a year after the invasion and another in 2005 before landmark legislative elections have nearly vanished.

Face-to-face interviews with 2,212 Iraqis—a survey sponsored jointly by USA TODAY, ABC News, the British Broadcasting Corp. and ARD, a German TV network—find a nation that in large measure has fragmented into fear. Six in 10 Iraqis say their lives are going badly. Only one-third expect things to improve in the next year.

That represents a dramatic deterioration in just 16 months, a reflection of how the security situation and quality of life in Iraq have unraveled. In an ABC News poll in November 2005, seven in 10 Iraqis said their lives were good and nearly as many predicted things would get better….

"We are in hell," said Solaf Mohamed Ali, 38, a Shiite woman who works in a bank.

Full USA Today store and much more poll data here.

The one general exception? Iraqi Kurdistan, which has been functioning as an autonomous region for over a decade. Last summer, blogger extraordinaire Michael Totten toured the area for Reason. Read all about it here.