March 5, 2008

Opinion on the war: It's going well.

A new Pew report:
In the most in-depth picture of the trend, the Pew report says that about half the public (48%) now says the Iraq war effort is going either very well or fairly well. That compares to a more than 2-1 majority who said it was going badly a year ago. Nearly half (47%) say the U.S. should keep its troops in Iraq until the situation there has stabilized -- roughly the same as those (49%) who favor bringing troops home as soon as possible. A year ago, 53% favored rapid withdrawal versus 42% who favored keeping the troops in Iraq.
This doesn't mean that more people think the decision to invade was good, only that there is support for finishing what we started.

43 comments:

Joe said...

Good news for McCain.

Elliott A said...

We have a moral obligation to finish what we started. We cause the mess, we must clean it up

Original Mike said...

Good news for America.

rhhardin said...

The invasion was a good idea, in fact. What was unanticipated was the media joining the terrorists as their publicity arm.

A side effect eventually was that the Iraqis got really tired of being blown up by shitheads playing to the media, and at that point the surge worked, as every bad guy wound up being turned in when spotted.

Mr. Forward said...

"We cause the mess, we must clean it up." elliot a

We are cleaning up Saddam Hussein's mess. You have a moral obligation to put the blame where it belongs.

MadisonMan said...

No news is good news.

Simon said...

"This doesn't mean that more people think the decision to invade was good, only that there is support for finishing what we started."

This is a key distinction that I suspect that many of the more vocal opponents of the war just don't seem to be able to get past. Many of them really seem to have a need to get on record that they were against the war in the first place, as if that settles anything; that's not useful. Unless one can connect it to a solution, it's not actually relevant to talk about whether we should have gone into Iraq in the first place. That doesn't help deal with the question of what policy now ought to be. It may be an important question for historians, and it may well be an important consideration vis-a-vis the debate over what action we ought to take against Iran, but I just don't see how it's useful in talking about policy on Iraq.

AllenS said...

Freder, get over here and comment, I have some questions to ask.

George said...

"As we enforce the just demands of the world, we will also honor the deepest commitments of our country. Unlike Saddam Hussein, we believe the Iraqi people are deserving and capable of human liberty, and when the dictator has departed, they can set an example to all the Middle East of a vital and peaceful and self-governing nation.

The United States with other countries will work to advance liberty and peace in that region. Our goal will not be achieved overnight, but it can come over time. The power and appeal of human liberty is felt in every life and every land, and the greatest power of freedom is to overcome hatred and violence, and turn the creative gifts of men and women to the pursuits of peace. That is the future we choose."

—The peroration of Pres. Bush's address to Congress on the eve of the Iraq War, March 2003

In 100 years the world will look back and once again shrug at the genius of America. Opponents said Jefferson violated the Constitution when he bought Louisiana, what some said was "a worthless desert." We were fools to buy Alaska—Andrew Johnson's 'polar bear garden.' And, yes, Bush was a fool to buy freedom for Iraqis with American blood. This war will turn out to be one of the best investments America has ever made in freedom and prosperity—if we can continue to help the Iraqi people create something resembling a secular democracy, one that will infect all of its neighbors with the courage to revolt against their evil rulers.

We're the revolution—always have been, always will be.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a lose. Americans play to win all the time because the thought of losing is despicable to Americans.

Patton

Simon said...

George said...
"In 100 years the world will look back and once again shrug at the genius of America. Opponents said Jefferson violated the Constitution when he bought Louisiana...."

The difference is that those opponents were clearly wrong. It may have been debatable at the time whether buying Louisiana (and, in time, Alaska) was wise, but the power to negotiate and conclude agreements with foreign powers is, beyond peradventure, within the President's power.

ricpic said...

What I want to know is: what constitutes victory in Iraq?

Or is this thing open ended and forever and we're supposed to be all right with that?

Hoosier Daddy said...

I think when the bombs stop going off, and the insurgency is done, then we can claim victory. From a political standpoint, that will probably take longer. It cost us 50,000 KIA in Korea and then about another 35-40 years before it actually became a liberal democracy. Few people today would argue that war was a mistake and Truman was a failure (although they certainly did at the time).

The Drill SGT said...

MM said...No news is good news.

and the corollary?

good news is NOT news.

B said...

You're missing the main point here:

A large percentage of the American adult population is adrift with no basic center of true moral convictions - how else do you explain such a difference in polling from a year ago?

This is why we are in constant need of Presidents and Supreme Court Justices who do not bend their convictions with the polling tides. If Rasmussen and Gallup had been polling during the Civil War and someone other than Lincoln was President - say someone equivalent to today's political "moderates" - we would still be a country with legalized slavery.

P. Rich said...

AA said: This doesn't mean that more people think the decision to invade was good, only that there is support for finishing what we started.

Well, yeah. Like any data set, its meaning is confined to what is contained in the data. Such leaps to the dizzying heights of intellectual acuity leave one breathless, knuckles dragging in the dust.

Now about that 49%:

Some will be shades-of-pink anti-war for whom all war is evil and no situation ever justifies combat.

Some fail to understand, or absolutely oppose, the shift in policy post-9/11 that now allows preemptive action against terrorist states as presently defined.

Some will never support the concept of "spreading democracy" and see it simply as colonialism.

Some see modern society as evil and oil as a contributor. They will not support the notion of protecting our sovereign interests in the Middle East.

Some see the conflict as a "Bush war" and will oppose it forever solely on that basis.

The point: There is an idiot-established statistical floor below which any "anti-" figure cannot sink. It might be interesting to know that figure.

Too many jims said...

That seems like a resonable caption for the WSJ piece. However, I suspect that if a lefty blogger linked to the Pew poll (rather than the WSJ piece) and captioned it "Opinion on the war: It's not going well" they would be pilloried in these parts. But it seems to me an equally valid conclusion as "It's going well."

If you look at the actual poll results you will see that the same percent of respondents (48%) say that the war is going "Not too/at all well" as say that the war is going "Very/fairly well." The linked WSJ does not give the "Not too/at all well" number.

Sloanasaurus said...

Public opinion will change even more radically when casualties trickle down towards zero and people start to realize that we have been victorious. People who voted against the surge will start to look like those who opposed finishing the civil war.

Perhaps a weakness with Obama (and Hillary) in all of this is that he is unable to close the deal. Obama can't close the deal on Hillary, and his vote against the surge shows he used bad judgment in trying to close the deal on Iraq.

Cedarford said...

George, while the support for at least finishing the job and leaving a stable Iraq has risen, I do not see any basis to assume the Iraqis WANT a secular democracy.

They have done little to work hard to make it happen over the last 5 years.

I suspect it would be "no contest" if Americans were asked to choose between leaving with a stable country run by a coalition of Islamists that hate one another or staying another 10 years with major casualties and expenses to reward the "noble purple-fingered freedom-lovers". (And stay to feed Bush's neocon, Wilsonian, Sharansky fired fantasies)

As for an investment, when the war started, oil was 47 dollars a barrel and the dollar was not headed for becoming toilet paper. The trillion-dollars blown in Iraq would better have been spent on America's domestic needs. On our competiveness woes, our need for a national enegy independence initiative, our need to put modern IT and management technology in place to cut health care costs 25% and tame the unfunded medicare liability which has ballooned from 11 Trillion when Bush took office to 23 Trillion today on exploding costs.

Iraq was a mistake. We owed nothing to the "noble Iraqi People" wen we went in with our liberation excuse - nor did we owe them the 22,000 casualties and the 700 billion we borrowed from China and Saudi Arabia to nation-build under resentful, treacherous Iraqi gazes. The only Iraqis worth it, collectively, appear to be the Kurdish people - who have acted in a responsible, civilized manner since the invasion. (though the Sunni Arabs had just grievances on us - mainly the disastrous Bush-Cheney-Bremer decisions to destroy the military, police, and functioning government of Iraq through their purge of all Sunnis).

As for Bush - he will never be thought of as a good President - except by the very wealthy and militarists. He is in Jimmy Carter territory with major, discrediting domestic and foreign policy messes it will tale a long time to clean up.

salvage said...

And what exactly was started? And what is the finish?

Doyle said...

Actually, it doesn't necessarily mean there's support for "finishing what we've started."

Is leaving within a year still a majority position? I bet it is.

Doyle said...

And what is the finish?

Staying forever is winning.

Doyle said...

Ultimately, the continued presence of US troops in Iraq serves mostly to let war supporters continue to argue that things would be much worse if we left.

Soldiers are dying so that people like Ann don't have to come to grips with how f---ing stupid they are.

Roger said...

I believe we will see some force draw down before the end of the year; as for residual forces, someone correct me if I am wrong (as if that wouldnt happen anyway), but I believe both democratic candidates have talked about leaving some forces behind in Iraq; Obama for security purposes and Clinton for training and security.

ZPS said...

The support to withdraw changing from 53% to 49% is supposed to signal that people think the "war" is "going well"?

Besides falling within the margin of error, this only signals that Ann will post anything to validate her misguided support of a quagmire.

Of course there are less casualties; there is more manpower and thus more security. By this logic, the only way to "win" is to keep adding more troops and leave them there indefinitely. If you're ok with that, have at it.

I'm just glad that I, like you, Ann, don't have any children over there.

Too many jims said...

Doyle said...
Is leaving within a year still a majority position? I bet it is.


According to the Pew survey that is not the majority position. Only about 15% support immediate withdrawal and 33% support withdrawal "over the next year or two." Of course it is a poll so it may not accurately reflect reality.

AlphaLiberal said...

"No news is good news" is right. The reporting from and about Iraq is filtered and distorted.

For example, Bush is trying to act unilaterally to cement a long-term presence by the US in Iraq. He's not giving Congress a say in the matter. Do conservatives mind? Naaah... it's "follow the dear leader," the Constitution be damned.

Likewise, ethnic cleansing in Baghdad has been brushed aside. The millions of Iraqis dislodged from their homes and country is ignored. The corruption of the occupation is barely covered.

George said...

Cedar--

The Civil War probably looked like a mistake in 1868. I doubt many Southerners were grateful for their dead sons, ruined farms, and burned cities.

We use seemingly insane deficit spending to defend ourselves and spread liberty because it works. It's been the military/economic strategy of the American and British governments for 400 years, beginning when King Charles used debt to fight the French. Then the British used colossal debt to fight the French and Indian Wars and the American rebels, and we've adopted the same policies. People thought it was nuts then, and it's the same today. We're still crazy.

We keep doing it because history shows that Britain and the US grew freer, more prosperous, and stronger militarily even with huge debts. Right now, we've got zillions of Sunni Arab money pouring in to support US banks because the Sunnis fear the Iranians. We cannot be defeated.

Fen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fen said...

For example, Bush is trying to act unilaterally to cement a long-term presence by the US in Iraq. He's not giving Congress a say in the matter.

Good for him. The Dems in Congress are treacherous weasels who want Iraq to fall back into chaos, simply to cover their political ass.

Bruce Hayden said...

What is interesting to me is that there seems to be the idea that if polls show the war going well, then it is, but if they don't, then it isn't. And, hence, you hear the stuff about endless war, etc., all designed to convince people that the war isn't going well, so that it won't be.

But of course the only way to really believe that the war is going badly is to divorce oneself from the reality. There has been a major turnaround over the last year or so.

And in response to the worry about Iraq turning into an Islamic theocracy, it is highly unlikely. First, as noted by the anti-war NYT yesterday, Iraqis are turning against religious fundamentalism, due to being victims of its excesses. Secondly, the most powerful religious figure in Iraq right now (and coming up fast in Iran) is Grand Ayatollah Sistani, who has been strongly opposed to combining mosque and state for decades. The fact that he turned out to be right about the Shi'a joining the government instead of fighting it isn't hurting his cause either.

Fen said...

Soldiers are dying so that people like Ann don't have to come to grips with how f---ing stupid they are.

The soldiers would disagree. They want to finish the job, esp when victory is so close at hand. Otherwise, explain why so many are re-enlisting to serve their 2d and 3d tour?

Fen said...

Meanwhile, support for Al Queda in the muslim world has dropped off dramatically. Because they showed their ass in Iraq. Nice work Bush.

Bruce Hayden said...

Likewise, ethnic cleansing in Baghdad has been brushed aside. The millions of Iraqis dislodged from their homes and country is ignored. The corruption of the occupation is barely covered.

Let me suggest that you are fighting last year's battle. The DNC and anti-war wingnuts needs to update their talking points more often. Yes, a year ago, this was true. Today, Iraqis are returning to the country and to their old homes and neighborhood.

What you have to keep in mind here is that the ethnic cleansing was going to continue until either the Sunni Arabs turned their back on al Qaeda and terrorism, or they left any part of the country that had large Shi'a or Kurdish populations. Nothing we were going to be able to do about it, except what we did do, which was to help the Sunni Arabs switch sides.

To some extent, the Shi'a were evicting the Sunni as a defensive measure. As long as the Sunni terrorists could hide in the Sunni Arab population, having the later around was dangerous for the Shi'a in particular. So, the safest thing to do was to move them out. (And, yes, part of it was due to the Sunnis historically having the upper hand - but not as much as we thought, given the amount of reconciliation going on right now).

Fen said...

The DNC and anti-war wingnuts needs to update their talking points more often

They're still pining for their "civil war". Lovely crowd.

ricpic said...

The civil war was about national survival; is Iraq about national survival?

Elliott A said...

The republic would have survived just fine had they let the South leave the union. We are not a nation, we are a republic.

Original Mike said...

The South would have been northern Mexico by now. "The fence" would have to be built on the Mason-Dixon line.

Fen said...

The civil war was about national survival

...Democrats pining for civil war in Iraq.

Sloanasaurus said...

As for an investment, when the war started, oil was 47 dollars a barrel and the dollar was not headed for becoming toilet paper. The trillion-dollars blown in Iraq would better have been spent on America's domestic needs.

I think you meant to say "squandered" on America's domestic needs.

Or maybe we would have spent the $500 million picking up the pieces of the terrorist attack that surely would have happened but for our invasion of Iraq.

Blake said...

And don't forget the cost of containment. It wasn't cheap either.

Jason said...

Jeez...even if we didn't overthrow Saddam Hussein in 2003, what is the friggin' guarantee that we wouldn't have had to go to war with Saddam in the meantime?

Or that Saddam would not have provoked his own war with Iran or Saudi Arabia? Or quietly mined the Straits of Hormuz?

Then you'd see $200 per barrel oil on world markets.

This notion that had we not gone to war in 2003, we would not have gone to war is just stupid. There is a very real chance we would be at war now, in Iraq or elsewhere in the region, anyway.

Mr. Forward said...

Well sure they are "pining for civil war" now. But that's not their fault. Before Bush messed up their plans they were willing to settle for a continuation of the Saddam-Uday-Qusay Hussein dynasty.