Iraqis want US out of Iraq, Says Official Coalition Poll

  1. I know, I know, we can't trust polls (unless they say what we want them to). But this particular poll was commissioned by the U.S. authority over there, so if anything, then it would be biased the other way. It shows a very clear picture of how Iraqis view their "liberators" and how much they want the US troops to remain. The new appointed Iraqi leader has said he wants the US troops to stay, but then, he's a hand appointed puppet, and he used to work for the CIA. So I doubt his views are anywhere in touch with the average Iraqi.

    Poll of Iraqis reveals anger toward U.S.

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    By John Solomon

    June 15, 2004 | WASHINGTON (AP) --

    A poll of Iraqis commissioned by the U.S.-governing authority has provided the Bush administration a stark picture of anti-American sentiment -- more than half of Iraqis believe they would be safer if U.S. troops simply left.

    The poll, commissioned by the Coalition Provisional Authority last month but not released to the American public, also found radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is surging in popularity, 92 percent of Iraqis consider the United States an occupying force and more than half believe all Americans behave like those portrayed in the Abu Ghraib prison abuse photos.

    The Associated Press obtained a copy of a multimedia presentation about the poll that was shown to U.S. officials involved in developing Iraq policy. Several officials said in interviews the results reinforced feelings that the transfer of power and security responsibilities to the Iraqis can't come too soon.


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    ''If you are sitting here as part of the coalition, it (the poll) is pretty grim," said Donald Hamilton, a career foreign service officer who is working for Ambassador Paul Bremer's interim government and helps oversee the CPA's polling of Iraqis.

    ''While you have to be saddened that our intentions have been misunderstood by a lot of Iraqis, the truth of the matter is they have a strong inclination toward the things that have the potential to bring democracy here," he said in a telephone interview Tuesday from Baghdad.

    Hamilton noted the poll found 63 percent of Iraqis believed conditions will improve when an Iraqi interim government takes over June 30, and 62 percent believed it was ''very likely" the Iraqi police and Army will maintain security without U.S. forces.

    State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said, ''Let's face it. That's the goal, to build those up to the point where they can take charge in Iraq and they can maintain security in Iraq."

    The poll, conducted by Iraqis in face-to-face interviews in six cities with people representative of the country's various factions, conflict with the generally upbeat assessments the administration continues to give Americans. Just last week, President Bush predicted future generations of Iraqis ''will come to America and say, thank goodness America stood the line and was strong and did not falter in the face of the violence of a few."

    The current generation seems eager for Americans to leave, the poll found.

    The coalition's confidence rating in May stood at 11 percent, down from 47 percent in November, while coalition forces had just 10 percent support. Nearly half of Iraqis said they felt unsafe in their neighborhoods.

    And 55 percent of Iraqis reported to the pollsters they would feel safer if U.S. troops immediately left, nearly double the 28 percent who felt that way in January. Forty-one percent said Americans should leave immediately, and 45 percent said they preferred for U.S. forces to leave as soon as a permanent Iraqi govermnment is installed.

    ''To a certain degree it is self-evident that Iraqis have lost some confidence in us, particularly in our ability to protect them," Hamilton said.

    Frustration over security was made worse this spring by revelations of sexual and physical abuse of Iraqis by U.S. guards at the Abu Ghraib prison.

    The poll, taken in mid-May shortly after the controversy began, found 71 percent of Iraqis said they were surprised by the humiliating photos and tales of abuse at the hands of Americans, but 54 percent said they believed all Americans behave like the guards.

    The prison scandal has also become fodder in the United States, as Democratic challenger John Kerry accuses Bush of failing to set a proper moral tone. ''I think the president is underestimating the full affect of what has happened in the world to our reputation because of that prison scandal," Kerry said Tuesday.

    Anger at Americans was evident in other aspects of the poll, including a rapid rise in popularity for al-Sadr, the Muslim cleric who has been leading insurgents fighting U.S.-led coalition forces.

    The poll reported that 81 percent of Iraqis said they had an improved opinion of al-Sadr in May from three months earlier, and 64 percent said the acts of his insurgents had made Iraq more unified.

    However, only 2 percent said they would support al-Sadr for president, even less than the 3 percent who expressed support for the deposed Saddam Hussein.

    The coalition's Iraq polling of 1,093 adults selected randomly in six cities -- Baghdad, Basra, Mosul, Diwaniyah, Hillah and Baquba was taken May 14-23 and had a margin of potential sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. Crucial details on the methodology of the coalition's polling were not provided, including how samples were drawn.

    The most recent independent polling by Gallup found more than half of Iraqis want U.S. and British troops to leave the country within the next few months.

    An Oxford International poll taken in February for ABC News and several networks from other countries found a higher level of optimism than more recent polling taken after months of bombings and other violence. Still, only a quarter of those polled by Oxford said they had confidence in coalition forces to meet their needs, far behind Iraqi religious leaders, police, and soldiers.
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  2. 24 Comments

  3. by   elkpark
    I have heard several reports of various polls (although, as you note, it's hard to know how much weight to give them) over the months that have reported basically the same results ... I'm not surprised.
  4. by   fergus51
    I think it's stupid that we would even need a poll to tell us this. I mean, just put yourself in their shoes. It has to be deeply embarassing to them how quickly their army was defeated and how easily they have been ruled by a foreign power, not to mention the prison scandal. They probably want us out asap so they can try to put all that behind them.

    I thought John Stewart summed it up when he said we wouldn't be so proud of our independance if France just came over and "liberated" us. No nation wants to admit they need to be rescued or "liberated" by another country, especially when that country is so different culturally.
  5. by   roxannekkb
    Quote from fergus51
    I think it's stupid that we would even need a poll to tell us this. I mean, just put yourself in their shoes. It has to be deeply embarassing to them how quickly their army was defeated and how easily they have been ruled by a foreign power, not to mention the prison scandal. They probably want us out asap so they can try to put all that behind them.

    I thought John Stewart summed it up when he said we wouldn't be so proud of our independance if France just came over and "liberated" us. No nation wants to admit they need to be rescued or "liberated" by another country, especially when that country is so different culturally.
    The Iraqis, as well other the rest of the Middle East, has had its fill from being "liberated" by foreign powers. The English preceded us there, and they were eventually thrown out.

    It is not up to the US, or anyone else, to decide to "remake" a region in its own image. Western style democracy may not be the best thing for Iraq, at least not initially. It is completely alien to their culture, and if democracy is somewhere in their future, then it needs to evolve according to their culture. It has to come from them, not an outsider. You can't force your way of life on someone else--it has always backfired, and always will. The harder you push, the more resistance you get.

    But we never learn...sigh...do we.
  6. by   Dixiedi
    Quote from roxannekkb
    The Iraqis, as well other the rest of the Middle East, has had its fill from being "liberated" by foreign powers. The English preceded us there, and they were eventually thrown out.

    It is not up to the US, or anyone else, to decide to "remake" a region in its own image. Western style democracy may not be the best thing for Iraq, at least not initially. It is completely alien to their culture, and if democracy is somewhere in their future, then it needs to evolve according to their culture. It has to come from them, not an outsider. You can't force your way of life on someone else--it has always backfired, and always will. The harder you push, the more resistance you get.

    But we never learn...sigh...do we.
    I do agree with your thoughts that change can not be forced. It must come naturally. However, if we leave before the Al Qaida is permanently squashed, we are in trouble. It is unfortunate that the Iraqi people are involved. And to the average Iraqi citizen, their corrupt government is gone, they should be left in peace to rebuild the way they want to. I agree with that. But... there is still resisitance to letting them people do that.
    There's no good way to know when to leave. I don't know if it's now, next week or never. We can only hope that we leave when the time is right and there's no clear way to know that but I would think it's when there are no longer any tangible threats to our national security.
  7. by   roxannekkb
    Quote from Dixiedi
    I do agree with your thoughts that change can not be forced. It must come naturally. However, if we leave before the Al Qaida is permanently squashed, we are in trouble. It is unfortunate that the Iraqi people are involved. And to the average Iraqi citizen, their corrupt government is gone, they should be left in peace to rebuild the way they want to. I agree with that. But... there is still resisitance to letting them people do that.
    There's no good way to know when to leave. I don't know if it's now, next week or never. We can only hope that we leave when the time is right and there's no clear way to know that but I would think it's when there are no longer any tangible threats to our national security.
    Al quaida had nothing to do with Iraq, at least not before we attacked them. In fact, a report was just released today which puts an end to any notion that Iraq had anything to do with 9/11.

    The point is, that it is not for us to decide when to leave Iraq. It is up to the Iraqis. It is their country. Would you like to be occupied by a foreign army?

    The longer we stay in Iraq, the more agitated the situation will get, not the other way around. The longer we keep our unwanted presence there, the more animosity will increase across the region. Terrorism will increase, not the other way around. The more we interfere in other nations, the more terrorism is incited. Yes, we can keep killing terrorists, but for everyone we kill, ten more take his place.
  8. by   Dixiedi
    Quote from roxannekkb
    Al quaida had nothing to do with Iraq, at least not before we attacked them. In fact, a report was just released today which puts an end to any notion that Iraq had anything to do with 9/11.

    The point is, that it is not for us to decide when to leave Iraq. It is up to the Iraqis. It is their country. Would you like to be occupied by a foreign army?

    The longer we stay in Iraq, the more agitated the situation will get, not the other way around. The longer we keep our unwanted presence there, the more animosity will increase across the region. Terrorism will increase, not the other way around. The more we interfere in other nations, the more terrorism is incited. Yes, we can keep killing terrorists, but for everyone we kill, ten more take his place.
    Everybody has known that since it was confirmed that Al Qaida was responsible. The war in Iraq bacame a reality becasue the then government of Iraq knew the Al Qaida had headquarters these and did not offer them up to us so we went after them. The Iraqi government retaliated as if it is quite alright to host terrorists. (They themselves were little more than terrorists, so why would they giev them up.)
    Reports can be written daily saying we were wrong to go there but the simple fact is that's where our enimies were/are hiding and we needed to get them and anyone who tried to stop us had to be stopped. Simple fact... if you are not with us, you are against us.
  9. by   Mkue
    Quote from roxannekkb
    The prison scandal has also become fodder in the United States, as Democratic challenger John Kerry accuses Bush of failing to set a proper moral tone. ''I think the president is underestimating the full affect of what has happened in the world to our reputation because of that prison scandal," Kerry said Tuesday.
    Once again Kerry is showing that he has no knowledge of how to deal with world affairs. Kerry is not aware that a few Americans wrongdoing cannot bring down the overall good that has been accomplished in Iraq and around the world such as in Afghanistan. Instead of telling Americans that we can rise above the so called scandal and show the world that we are good people and we are optimistic that we will not let this bring us down, Kerry chooses to bring us down by focusing on our reputation being ruined by a few soldiers and Kerry expects Americans to believe that? I don't think so. The world is aware that we Americans are not perfect and our Presidents have never been perfect in the past, ie. Nixon, Clinton, Kennedy, Carter.. etc..

    Kerry was not worried about our Reputation when he insulted our Allies in Iraq, calling them "window dressing" and "nothing". Not a very good start for a man and candidate who wants to lead us in a new direction.

    As for the Iraqi's wanting us "out" I'm all for that, I want us out too and I hope the Terrorists leave Iraq when we do. The terrorists have harrassed the Coalition forces and the Iraqi people long enough. It's time for Terrorists to leave as well.
  10. by   Mkue
    Quote from Dixiedi
    Everybody has known that since it was confirmed that Al Qaida was responsible. The war in Iraq bacame a reality becasue the then government of Iraq knew the Al Qaida had headquarters these and did not offer them up to us so we went after them. The Iraqi government retaliated as if it is quite alright to host terrorists. (They themselves were little more than terrorists, so why would they giev them up.)
    Reports can be written daily saying we were wrong to go there but the simple fact is that's where our enimies were/are hiding and we needed to get them and anyone who tried to stop us had to be stopped. Simple fact... if you are not with us, you are against us.
    And we don't need a permission slip from other countries to go after our enemies. IMO.
  11. by   roxannekkb
    Quote from Dixiedi
    Everybody has known that since it was confirmed that Al Qaida was responsible. The war in Iraq bacame a reality becasue the then government of Iraq knew the Al Qaida had headquarters these and did not offer them up to us so we went after them. The Iraqi government retaliated as if it is quite alright to host terrorists. (They themselves were little more than terrorists, so why would they giev them up.)
    Reports can be written daily saying we were wrong to go there but the simple fact is that's where our enimies were/are hiding and we needed to get them and anyone who tried to stop us had to be stopped. Simple fact... if you are not with us, you are against us.
    Your history of Iraq and terrorism seems to have little basis in reality. Iraq had no connection with al-quaida. Even Bush admitted it some time ago, that there was no link. The report issued today states clearly that Iraq had no involvement with 9/11. Bush tried his best to confuse the public about the tie between Iraq and Al-queada, even though none existed. The war in Iraq was supposed to be over WMDs. When those never turned up, then it turned into "liberating" the Iraqis and bringing democracy.

    Our "enemies" were never hiding in Iraq, per se. The bulk of the al-queada force comes from Saudi Arabia and Egypt, our two "friends" in the middle east. Perhaps we need to attack those countries to weed out al-queada. And the Taliban, closely aligned with al-queada, were in Afghanistan, where we didn't stick around long enough to finish our mission. Yes, we still have soldiers there but a skeleton crew. Terrorism is flourishing there again. If we really wanted to do something about terrorism, we would have stayed in Afghanistan, and gotten that nation back on its feet and stable.
  12. by   SharonH, RN
    Quote from Dixiedi
    Everybody has known that since it was confirmed that Al Qaida was responsible. The war in Iraq bacame a reality becasue the then government of Iraq knew the Al Qaida had headquarters these and did not offer them up to us so we went after them. The Iraqi government retaliated as if it is quite alright to host terrorists. (They themselves were little more than terrorists, so why would they giev them up.)
    Reports can be written daily saying we were wrong to go there but the simple fact is that's where our enimies were/are hiding and we needed to get them and anyone who tried to stop us had to be stopped. Simple fact... if you are not with us, you are against us.

    Not one word of this is accurate. Where are you getting this stuff? Our own government has said over and over that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. Please re-read the last paragraph that Roxanne wrote.
  13. by   chris_at_lucas_RN
    The polls say Iraqis would like to be left alone? Well, duh!

    Would you want armed individuals who don't look like you or sound like you, about whom you have heard very little that is good, walking around your country?

    The only reason we are still there is because there continues to be violence. I would lay you odds if the Iraqis would quit killing each other and us, we would go home.

    Case closed.
  14. by   mattsmom81
    Of course the Iraqis want us out...and when they are ready to self govern and the region is stable enough, I have no doubt we WILL get out...its in the works.

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