Support is growing

  1. Support for conflict on the rise

    March 26 2003


    The majority of Australians, Britons and Americans now back the coalition military assault on Iraq, despite mounting casualties and grim warnings of worse to come as the battle for Baghdad looms.

    Polls in the US, Britain and Australia show anti-war rallies at home and around the world have failed to sway public opinion.

    Instead, support for the war has been steadily growing, particularly in Britain and Australia where only a minority backed their governments' war plans just two weeks ago.

    Polling in the US suggests public support there for the war is holding, despite the expectation that the coalition forces will sustain "significant" casualties.

    For the first time, more Australians backed the war than opposed it. According to Newspoll, 50per cent of Australians now support Australia's involvement in the war, up from 25per cent only two weeks ago. Opposition to the war has steadily waned, from a high of 73per cent to 42per cent this week.


    New polls in Britain show the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has managed to claw back the approval of 56per cent of Britons for his handling of the war.

    Mr Blair, who will visit the US President, George Bush, this week for talks at Camp David, had faced an approval rating of only 15 per cent in the weeks preceding the invasion and survived a revolt within his own party over his decision to commit British troops.

    Neither Mr Blair's clear warning of "difficult days ahead" as coalition forces prepare to engage Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard closer to Baghdad nor the morale-sapping British losses due to accidents and friendly fire appear to be eroding his new support base.

    Mr Blair continued to defend the morality of the conflict, despite civilian losses inside Iraq, saying the regrettable civilian casualties to date were not "as vivid and shocking" as the human rights abuses under the Iraqi Government.

    Mr Bush has maintained the 70per cent approval rating he has commanded since the beginning of the military campaign, but public hopes for a quick, clean victory are fading.

    A Washington Post-ABC News poll found 54per cent of Americans now believe the US and its allies will sustain "significant" casualties in the war, up from 37per cent on Thursday, the day after Mr Bush declared war on Iraq and allied forces launched a limited air strike on Baghdad.

    Many Americans also expect a longer war than they did just a few days ago. Nearly half, 45per cent, now expect the war to last months rather than days or weeks, up from 37per cent on Thursday.

    Daphne Nugent, 40, of New York, said: "I didn't expect there to be this much trouble. And I'm a little upset by what I'm hearing in terms of the casualties and the prisoners of war ... I thought it would end pretty easily and quickly, the war part of it anyway, not the occupation part."

    The Washington Post



    This story was found at: http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/...354605261.html
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  2. 16 Comments

  3. by   Q.
    I wonder what's motivating the sway in opinion. Seriously.
  4. by   wv_nurse 2003
    Originally posted by Susy K
    I wonder what's motivating the sway in opinion. Seriously.
    I wonder that too--although I guess I have a hard time believing that anyone truely believed we would come out of this without casualties or POWs. I think what is most "surprising" to most people is that we get reports of things as they happen, so it always seems like "more than expected" when it replays endlessly on TV.
  5. by   Furball
    Maybe hearing about forces being ambushed by "civilians" ...maybe because of Hussein's penchant for using "human shields"? A reaction to disgust maybe?

    I don't know, but I was shocked to read the turn around in Britain and Australia. I agree, it would be interesting to know, why, the change of heart?
    Last edit by Furball on Mar 25, '03
  6. by   Q.
    I really think the media coverage has a lot to do with it. When there is no media coverage, you're left with whatever you could possibly dream up is going on over there (thanks for videos like the one posted earlier - showing burned babies, etc from OUR soldiers, of course )

    With the media showing portions of reality, I think it might help, unfortunately. I can't watch the war coverage anymore. I listen to press conferences only with Gen. Franks and/or Rumsfeld and then shut it off.
  7. by   ayemmeff
    That's good old Blitz spirit for you. We're a feisty bunch and now the troops are fighting,most people are right behind them,and one way of showing that is by supporting the government.

    I think a lot of people have finally realised that the time for protests is long gone,and now it's time to pull together.

    The thing with us is that the more we are attacked,literally and metaphorically,the stronger and more obstinate we become.

    We don't have a Bulldog as one of our national images for no reason!

    jmo
    Last edit by ayemmeff on Mar 25, '03
  8. by   Furball
    Now I hear there's an uprising in Basrah against Hussein. The paralytic of fear is wearing off....I hope.

    Yikes...that's one fierce looking bulldog!
    Last edit by Furball on Mar 25, '03
  9. by   ayemmeff
    Maybe the civilians finally heard that the humanitarian aid is on the way and will get in quicker if the resistance cells are stopped. I hope so, and then word of that may spread up- country.
    Last edit by ayemmeff on Mar 25, '03
  10. by   rncountry
    Originally posted by ayemmeff
    That's good old Blitz spirit for you. We're a feisty bunch and now the troops are fighting,most people are right behind them,and one way of showing that is by supporting the government.

    I think a lot of people have finally realised that the time for protests is long gone,and now it's time to pull together.

    The thing with us is that the more we are attacked,literally and metaphorically,the stronger and more obstinate we become.

    We don't have a Bulldog as one of our national images for no reason!

    jmo
    Yes, indeed. I have to tell you this, as I was reading your post my seven year old walked up and said, "Oh, the British flag! They are our friends, free like us." Out of the mouths of babes.
  11. by   Stargazer
    Originally posted by Susy K
    I wonder what's motivating the sway in opinion. Seriously.
    While I'm sure there are some genuine converts, and people like ayemeff suggested who believe the default position while actively engaged in war should be unconditional support, for a lot of us it's more "weary, numb resignation" rather than enthusiastic endorsement.

    (I'm not trying to be snarky. That's just pretty much how I and everyone I know who is anti-war feels these days.)

    Not sure if that gets added into the "plus" side of the ledger or not.
  12. by   curious
    Ditto, Stargazer. What other choice do we have now that the conflict is started? We are too deeply committed to turn back now. Now that we are in, there is not really any other choice but to hope to finish it quickly, pray that our fighting forces return home safely and move on from there.
  13. by   molecule
    there is a long history of people rallying around their leaders in times of crisis , especially when troops are involved. this increase in support was anticipated.
  14. by   Q.
    Stargazer,
    I can understand the resignation of knowing that a war is happening despite your feeling on it, but I'm not sure if that is counted as support.

    For example: if a poll called you up and asked if you support Bush's actions in Iraq, yes or no, how would you answer?

    Molecule: was such a change in support evident during the Vietnam conflict?

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