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Polling Iraq
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, September 28, 2006

Extremely interesting and revealing poll out of Iraq.

The highlights (it is a 22 page pdf document that you should read to get the full story):
  • A solid majority of Iraqis want US troops out of Iraq within a year.
Overall 71% favor withdrawal of US troops within that time frame. Sunnis, of course, overwhelmingly favor it while Kurds overwhelming resist it. Shia fall somehere in the middle. The reason identified as driving this is most Iraqis now feel that the presence of US troops "provokes more violence than it prevents" (78%). That, of course varies along ethnic lines again. And, as a result you see more Iraqis approving of attacks on US troops that previously (up from 47% in January to 61% now).

If that was the sum of what you heard about this poll you'd have to conclude the news is not good. But hold up there Skippy, there's more underlying these numbers than meets the eye.
  • A majority of Iraqis feel Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) will be strong enough in 6 months to take over.
That's up from 39% in January. That means, on the whole Iraqis are seeing progress with the ISF and are positive about that progress.

There is a caution, however, to be factored in here:
The biggest part of this increase in confidence has come from Shias, 68 percent of whom now believe in the abilities of Iraqi forces—up from 45 percent in January. This view has grown among Kurds as well—up to 40 percent, from 22 percent in January, though 57 percent of Kurds still think foreign forces will be necessary. Sunnis, on the contrary, express declining confidence in Iraqi security forces. Confidence has dropped from 38 percent to 24 percent—reflecting perhaps their dissatisfaction with the ability of Iraqi security forces to protect them from attacks, or their perception of infiltration by militia groups. A large majority expresses confidence.
But militas, on the whole, are not a popular or "desired" as some my think. In fact, a large majority want the militias dealt with by the government (77%):
The militias appear to be quite unpopular and very large majorities of all groups favor a strong government that would get rid of the militias.
In fact the militias are very unpopular according to polling numbers:
Perhaps most significantly, when asked “Do you feel that if all militias were to disarm now, that you could or could not rely on the government alone to ensure security in your area?” a large 68 percent say they feel they could.
Again, a hopeful sign.
  • Overall Iraqis are hopeful about the future of the nation of Iraq.
Despite the daily violence and the claims that Iraq is "sliding into civil war" (how long is that slide?), the majority of Iraqis remain hopeful about their future (although that number has diminished since January):
Iraqis also express confidence that Iraq will survive as a single state. Asked, “How likely do you think it is that five years from now Iraq will still be a single state?” 72 percent overall say that it is very (30%) or somewhat likely (42%), while just 28 percent say it is not very likely (24%) or not at all likely (4%). Majorities of all groups express this confidence, including 80 percent of Shias, 65 percent of Kurds, and 56 percent of Sunnis. Most Iraqis (65%) see the current Iraqi government as “the legitimate representative of the Iraqi people.” However, while 82 percent of Shias and 76 percent of Kurds feel this way, 86 percent of Sunnis do not.
  • Overall, a large majority expresses confidence in the Maliki government, the Iraqi army, Iraqi interior ministry forces and the police.
In the case of all four entites, large majorities of Iraqis express continued confidence in them. The Maliki government draws a 63% approval rating, the army 64%, the Interior Ministry forces 62% and the police 71%. Given the problems that have been encountered fielding police units, etc, the last numbers is phenomenal.

Who are the influencers in Iraq? There are a number, obviously, but internally one has to consider Grand Ayotallah Sistani as a major factor. Some past reports have said his influence was waning in favor of Muqtada al-Sadr. The two are known to be at odds over the direction of Iraq. The poll shows Sistani's influence to still be much higher than that of al-Sadr in the polls top category ("very"):
Though Grand Ayatollah Sistani and Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr are quite at odds with each other on the direction of Iraq, they both get overwhelming support from Shias. Sistani is seen favorably by 95 percent of Shias (77% very), while Muqtada al-Sadr is viewed favorably by 81 percent (52% very).
As for external influences. If you think the US's numbers are bad, you need to see al-Qaedas. AQ has indeed lost the battle for Iraq according to this poll:
Overall 94 percent have an unfavorable view of al Qaeda, with 82 percent expressing a very unfavorable view. Of all organizations and individuals assessed in this poll, it received the most negative ratings.
And Osama bin Laden?
Views of Osama bin Laden are only slightly less negative. Overall 93 percent have an unfavorable view, with 77 percent very unfavorable.
Obviously there's much more to the report, but in sum, if you consider the findings as something with which to adjust your plan in Iraq you'd have to conclude that it may be time to do the following:
  • Speed up the turnover of territory to the ISF
  • Begin withdrawing, even symbolically, some US troop units (symbolically meaning put them in Kuwait if necessary)
  • Turn the "battle of Baghdad" over to the ISF
  • Redeploy US troops internally to Kurdistan and the southern part of Iraq where there is less of a threat to their presence
  • Begin functioning in a "fire brigade" role.
  • Continue Non-military forms of US involvement
Given this poll, and assuming its validity, it appears we are further along in this process of finishing the job than I thought, and our problem now may be our tendency to be overly cautious about turning over more and more of Iraq to the Iraqis.

Other opinions here, here, here and here.
 
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As I mentioned here, the divided regional loyalties within Iraq may well represent a new dynamic, a Middle East version of checks and balances. If there’s enough internal opposition to block alliances with any extreme, Iraq may well be on the path to ongoing democratic success. Middle Eastern nations have not had much experience with allowing internal bickering to dissuade their rulers from doing as they please.

I’m eager to hear from those who think the NIE report tells a tale of how beneficial our Iraqi incursion has been for al-Qaeda. If this poll is at all accurate, they’ve unquestionably lost in Iraq. Which means we’ve won. How do you like those apples?
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
Momentum is the belief that your side is winning coupled with the other side’s belief that they are losing. If this poll is correct (and I see no reason to believe it is not), then the momentum has definitely shifted in favor of the Maliki government while the Dems have been busy self-flagellating over our horrible "failure" in Iraq.

I do not doubt that the majority of Iraqis want our troops out of their country at the earliest opportunity. I would in their place. I live in the New Orleans area, where the National Guard is still patrolling some lawless areas 24/7 and I want them out ASAP. They’re not even foreign troops.

I agree, McQ - let’s step up the handoff schedule. If they feel they’re ready, let them take over responsibilty for their own security. It’s the foundation of self-determination, and that’s not something we should drag our feet on.

OTOH, if we end up having to do this again in Iran or Syria, I’d be perfectly happy with putting those countries to the torch and leaving it in ruins. I’ve had enough of this Marquis de Queensbury sh*t to last me a lifetime.
 
Written By: Jeff
URL: http://
I am not sure it is relevant that the majority of Iraqis feel their security forces are up to the task. How many of them have the expertise to form a useful opinion?
As for token withdrawals, that would probably be of marginal effectiveness; if an Iraqi still see US troops patrolling his city, I doubt that many of them will comfort themselves with the fact that thousands of them have left.
Did the survey go into a little more depth, asking if the presence of US troops, while undesireable, was tolerable or necessary?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
The poll of course shows that Iraqis favor attacks on Americans, and want the US out. General optimism about the future of the country shows nothing about the actual state of political affairs, especially in a society as divided as this, with a government that is extremely corrupt.

To try to take this poll and say we are "farther along" in progress is wishful thinking to an extreme. The reality is that the government is close to Iran, the militias are not being taken care of (and there is no governmental will to do so), and sectarian violence has increased with today a news story quoting an American general in Iraq warning about the increasing spiral towards all out civil war. To ignore all those realities and say "Iraqis are optimistic about their future, so things are going well" is a classic case of ignoring everything but what one wants to see and hear (especially when, as widely reported, the poll has a lot of negatives towards America).

It’s that kind of attempt to seek out evidence that supports ones’ own opinion rather than truly examining all aspects of the situation which explains why war hawks seem oblivious to the obvious failures in Iraq, and how it has weakened the US on multiple levels, with no solution in sight. Meanwhile, the original goals and expectations for the conflict have long been pushed aside — the failure to reach those means that by objective measures, the war has been a failure. The only attempt now is damage control.

At least FINALLY people are starting to recognize what some of us have been saying all alone: Iraq is not about al qaeda, al qaeda is not about to start operating in Iraq like they did in Afghanistan, the insurgency there are not terrorists out to get America, but home grown fighters believing they are fighting a foreign invader, with domestic goals, not some wild destroy America goals. In Iraq we are not fighting terrorism, we got mixed up in a thankless and meaningless conflict between different sectarian actors who inherited a political culture based on authoritarianism and corruption. That won’t become a stable democracy soon — states like that don’t become stable democracies except in a long, difficult process. The US needs to get out because we can’t really accomplish anything else there, and this is weakening us and has created a situation where in the Mideast we are no longer respected or feared. For the most part, this effort has been a waste of lives, money, and American power/prestige. Sadly, it’s the Iraqi people who have suffered the most — far more than they would have had Saddam stayed in power (especially women).
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~blog.htm
In Iraq we are not fighting terrorism, we got mixed up in a thankless and meaningless conflict between different sectarian actors who inherited a political culture based on authoritarianism and corruption. That won’t become a stable democracy soon — states like that don’t become stable democracies except in a long, difficult process.
So, how’s that Balkans gig going?


I agree with Tim, that we have to be careful about reading the poll too casually - polls have problems, like the numbers that say they support attacking US troops...that could be true, but it also could be societal pressure to answer "correctly" or the flippant answer of somebody not thinking it through...

I like the idea of symbolic troop pullout, but I think the symbolism is already being handled via province handovers...not big news in Ameriki, but probably headline news there...two provinces already handed over.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
I am not sure it is relevant that the majority of Iraqis feel their security forces are up to the task. How many of them have the expertise to form a useful opinion?
It is the confidence and support of the people that ultimately provides their mandate, as well as their ability to do their job (such as via tips from civilians who trust them to act in their best interest). It also helps them in recruiting as well as re-instilling a sense of national/cultural pride.

Without such trust and support, they’re screwed. That they’re getting it is huge.
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
I actually agree with this 100%.

The time has come for the Iraqis to take care of their own house. The US can’t quit cold turkey, but a gradual tapering down really needs to begin.

I expect that we’ll see that after the November elections.
 
Written By: Geek, Esq.
URL: http://
I fear this is going to be another brawl over which ’facts’ to accentuate and which to gloss over.
Good: Al Queda is unpopular. I wonder, though, how much of their unpopularity is due to the fact that they are seen as outsiders rather than reflecting a rejection of bin Laden’s ideology or techniques.
Bad: Iraqis back attacks on US troops by terrorists they do like.

This is the same as the argument over the meaning of the NIE report.

While squabling over the details of indivicual news clips, we are losing sight of the larger picuture: our standing in the world community, our depleted military resources, the growth of our national debt, and so on and on.

Iraq can’t be undone, but we’re doomed if we learn nothing from the experience and blindly commit to more of the same.
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
I am not sure it is relevant that the majority of Iraqis feel their security forces are up to the task. How many of them have the expertise to form a useful opinion?
It is more useful and relevant in providing a mandate for government action than anything else.

As to whether they are up to the task, the proof is in the pudding. I’d assume most who expressed an opinion did so as a result of some observation they’ve made of those forces in action or from the opinion of someone they respect who has.

While your point is well taken, it is still a positive sign relative to the mood of the country and, as mentioned by Jeff, providing momentum or impetus to positive government action.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Looks like we are getting right/left agreement on this.

Great.

Though I caution to see the same poll taken once they know we are leaving...

But still - it seems like good news overall...wouldn’t it suck to see them wanting us to stay and low support for their own military?

Thank you Gen. Petraeus
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Good: Al Queda is unpopular. I wonder, though, how much of their unpopularity is due to the fact that they are seen as outsiders rather than reflecting a rejection of bin Laden’s ideology or techniques.
I think it is mostly a reaction to Muslims purposely killing Muslims coupled with foreigners attempting to influence Iraq’s future.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
What is not reported is this interesting note:
"110% of all Iraqis polled believed that the US forces were in a quagmire that exceeded that of Vietnam and that the current President was named ’Chimpy McHaliburton.’"
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Sadly, it’s the Iraqi people who have suffered the most — far more than they would have had Saddam stayed in power (especially women).
And your proof of that is what, exactly?
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
And your proof of that is what, exactly?
Well, Mark, it’s hard to prove a theory, but considering that very low estimates of the number of Iraqis killed in the past three years would be about 75,000 -

Was Saddamn Hussein killing 25,000 Iraqis a year in 1999, 2000, 2001, or 2002,?

Informed and evidence-examining opinion suggests that he was killing no more than a tenth of that.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
McQ... hooray.

I don’t care how we get there, what rationale it involves, or whether some prefer to label it a failure or label it a success.

Let’s just do it. End the mass-focus general assault on Sunni Iraq. I think you yourself would admit that we are not about to get the Sunni insurgency to surrender to the US military. Iraqi Kurdistan is plenty close enough to kill people who look to be a threat to the American homeland.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
I’m eager to hear from those who think the NIE report tells a tale of how beneficial our Iraqi incursion has been for al-Qaeda. If this poll is at all accurate, they’ve unquestionably lost in Iraq.
Pablo, If you want to bolster your arguments that way, great. Al-Queida is unpopular. We won. Hey, sounds good to me. I’m all for not losing to Al-Quieda.

On the other hand, I’d use this to make the left’s point that we’ve been pointlessly engaged in a general war with forces that are not Al-Queida in Iraq, have very little to do with Al-Queida in Iraq, and don’t have to be dealt with the way we have to deal with Al-Quieda in Iraq. The fact that popularity for Al-Queida in Iraq is very low but support for attacks on US forces is quite high seems to bolster that argument too, don’t it?

So, everyone’s all bolstered together, huh?
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
I think you yourself would admit that we are not about to get the Sunni insurgency to surrender to the US military.
I think you’ll remember I’ve always insisted that wasn’t our job.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
RE unpopularity of Al Qaesa:

"I think it is mostly a reaction to Muslims
purposely killing Muslims coupled with
foreigners attempting to influence Iraq’s
future."

Probably this is partially true, but Muslims killing Muslims doesn’t seem to bother those engaged in the horrendous sectarian violence.
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
Probably this is partially true, but Muslims killing Muslims doesn’t seem to bother those engaged in the horrendous sectarian violence.
Yeah, but they’re Sunnis and Shias from the same country and they’ve had a centuries long blood feud.

I know it sounds trite, but it does make a difference.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Frankly, the first result of the poll makes me wonder about it’s veracity.

The Sunnis by a large majority than the Shia or Kurds, want the US to leave.

The poll could be right, but the logic eludes me on this.

First, I think the Kurds would be just as happy to just walk away form Iraq and the American military. They are happily on their way to a real Kurdistan, something they have been attempting to form for over a half century.

Second, the Shia have great sympathy if not much, much more from the Iranians. Iraqi Shia would probably like to go their own path, but having an oil-rich friend has it’s rewards.

Lastly, the Iraqi Sunnis had been running the country for at least 3 decades, even though they are the smallest group of the three. Unless they have a division or two of tanks buried in al Anbar that they can quickly unearth, the Shia will crush them, if the US leaves anytime soon.

Even dividing the country up leaves the Sunnis with the short end of the stick. Oil in Kurdistan and "Shiastan" but almost none in "Sunnistan".

If anything, the poll shows that many of the Sunni believe that if the US leaves tomorrow, the reign of Saddam (or a clone) will return in full glory. This is foolhardy at best, as the Kurds and most especially, the Shia, will not return to the 1990 status quo.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
McQ: "Sunnis and Shias from the same country and
they’ve had a centuries long blood feud."

You’re absolutely right.
This brings me to my main concern: how the Iraq experience will affect the Sunni-Shia balance in the whole region.

I tend to believe the assertions that Iran is fomenting the strife by backing Shia militias. So, what will Iran’s role be in Iraq after we leave? That’s a very scary question, and we’re in a very weak position to counteract Iranian machinations.

 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
I tend to believe the assertions that Iran is fomenting the strife by backing Shia militias. So, what will Iran’s role be in Iraq after we leave? That’s a very scary question, and we’re in a very weak position to counteract Iranian machinations.
You really need to read the poll closely to see what they found out about attitudes concerning militias, Iran, and the sectarian strife.

It’s also interesting to note their preference for how much power the government should have.

All that to say, it’s not our job to counteract Iranian machinations even if we could as it concerns Iraq. It’s really up to Iraq. They have to establish the sort of relationship they prefer. And, as I understand it, they’re in talks with Iran now.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Was Saddamn Hussein killing 25,000 Iraqis a year in 1999, 2000, 2001, or 2002,?
What does that have to do with anything? We were killing almost no terrorists in 1999 and 2000. Do you believe that Iran would not be pushing in Iraq with Saddam in place?
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
On the other hand, I’d use this to make the left’s point that we’ve been pointlessly engaged in a general war with forces that are not Al-Queida in Iraq, have very little to do with Al-Queida in Iraq, and don’t have to be dealt with the way we have to deal with Al-Quieda in Iraq.
Let’s just forget all about having defeated them, because we haven’t settled every unhappy person in Iraq. Why look at any accomplishments when the rivers of chocolate still aren’t flowing?

So, you want to bolster your argument with a dose of "All or nothing" absolutism?

Way to support the troops, glasnost! BTW, they’re largely peackeeping now, not engaging in general war.

We’ve beaten al-Qaeda in Afghanistan too? Do you support our continued presence there?
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
McQ: "it’s not our job to counteract Iranian
machinations even if we could as it concerns
Iraq. It’s really up to Iraq."

Right again, Mc!! (It’s scaring me how often I agree with you.

In a calmer atmosphere, I would just leave it at that. But Iran is a central issue looking into the future, and its influence does not present a pretty vista. No US administration official in a recent interview has failed to bring it up, in the context of its nuclear aspirations and the possiblity of extending those capabilities to terrorist groups of their choosing. I hope this is just posturing vis-a-vis the negotiaions with the EU, but I get nervous.
Some of the talk is beginning to echo what we heard in the months before the Iraq war.
I hope I’m wrong to worry. I hope You’re right not to worry. We’ll just have to wait and see.
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
BTW, they’re largely peackeeping now, not engaging in general war.
Pablo, your desire to be right has clearly led your argument over the bend and off the cliff. Are you kidding? You think the US military is "peacekeeping" in Anbar province right now? That’s like pretending the Israeli military was "peacekeeping" in Lebanon. They’re fighting a war. At minimum, an unneccesarily broad one, one which Iraq would be better off if was resolved by other means, especially since genuine, clear-cut, we-win you-die outright military *victory* is as far off now as it was in 2004.
Let’s just forget all about having defeated them, because we haven’t settled every unhappy person in Iraq. Why look at any accomplishments when the rivers of chocolate still aren’t flowing?

So, you want to bolster your argument with a dose of "All or nothing" absolutism?
I can say here without too much of a smirk that I don’t have any idea what you’re talking about. Like I said, I give not a gastric distress event in an elevator whether you call it victory or defeat. The current policy is counterproductive to Iraq’s development and to US GWOT strategy. Two things will fix it:

a) the completion of US exit from direct fighting role against the ethnic Sunni insurgency, withdrawal to Kurdistan (barring neccesary anti-Al Queada Spec Ops)

b) the end of US blocking of Iraqi political solutions, in exchange for promoting them.

These are the left’s arguments. And they were right. You seem to be carrying on an unrelated conversation with yourself.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
I think you yourself would admit that we are not about to get the Sunni insurgency to surrender to the US military
I think you’ll remember I’ve always insisted that wasn’t our job.
welllllllllll. I’ll try not to grin down my shirt here, but, if I was, oh, an angry national security hawk, couldn’t I argue that our decision - decision that forcing an explicit surrender of the ethnic Sunni insurgency here isn’t our job - could be hailed by terrorists as a victory? Could send a dangerous signal of weakness to our enemies? Could make us look like a... creature that lives in the jungle and eats paper gazzelles?
Sure I could. I’m surprised how deferential the right-wing comment boards are being to your analysis, frankly. Why hasn’t someone said it already?

To be polite.. I think this makes the point... the point I was making allll the way back in the day... that simplistic mock-psychoanalysis of the effect of our decisions on our enemies’ morale, should not be the prime impetus for our national security decisions. In straight talk, both smart and dumb decisions can be, from the perspective of some terrorist lunatic, a sign of US weakness. A nutjob like Kim Jong Il can consider it US weakness that we haven’t nuked him out of existence. The doesn’t mean that the smart US policy is therefore to nuke Kim Jong Il.

A good strategy is not one created purely to sap the enemy’s morale (or, even worse, to *avoid* *bolstering* it. A good policy defeats the enemy’s goals and achieves one’s own. That in itself will sap morale. Morale is incidental.

A good Al-Quieda strategy would be to saturate propaganda daring the US to do stupid, over-aggressive things, and portraying the US’s lack of having done so as "weak". I’m not so sure that they don’t already do that, although it’s hard to tell the genuine megalomania from the psyops.



 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
welllllllllll. I’ll try not to grin down my shirt here, but, if I was, oh, an angry national security hawk, couldn’t I argue that our decision - decision that forcing an explicit surrender of the ethnic Sunni insurgency here isn’t our job - could be hailed by terrorists as a victory?
Why would that be a victory?

Our job is to provide the time, space and training necessary to stand up the government and ISF. I’ve been saying that for a long time (the search engine awaits).

The Iraqi’s job is to defeat the insurgency ... when they’re ready.

So grin down whatever you want. Or up at it if that’s better.
Could send a dangerous signal of weakness to our enemies? Could make us look like a... creature that lives in the jungle and eats paper gazzelles?
How so? If it’s not your mission what signal can it send but it’s not your mission?
To be polite.. I think this makes the point... the point I was making allll the way back in the day... that simplistic mock-psychoanalysis of the effect of our decisions on our enemies’ morale, should not be the prime impetus for our national security decisions.
The sole reason? I agree. Not factored in at all?

Nonsense. It should be factored in just as much as our allies goodwill (or anger) should be factored into our foreign policy and national security decisions. For both it is an important factor.
In straight talk, both smart and dumb decisions can be, from the perspective of some terrorist lunatic, a sign of US weakness. A nutjob like Kim Jong Il can consider it US weakness that we haven’t nuked him out of existence. The doesn’t mean that the smart US policy is therefore to nuke Kim Jong Il.
I’m not sure what that means, but in reality, "nut jobs" draw strength from all sorts of things and our job is to provide as few of them as we can. It’s not even debatable that bin Laden drew strength from Somolia and used it as a propaganda and recruiting tool.
A good strategy is not one created purely to sap the enemy’s morale (or, even worse, to *avoid* *bolstering* it. A good policy defeats the enemy’s goals and achieves one’s own. That in itself will sap morale. Morale is incidental.
Morale is never incidental. It is something that can defeat a stronger enemy when everything says "lay down".

No one has said the purpose of finishing the job in Iraq is exclusively to "avoid bolstering" the enemy’s morale. It is a moral duty and it is in our best interest to do so. Those two things, even to opponents of the war, should be obvious.

And, btw, as a side-benefit to doing that, it will be clear to potential enemies that we will do what is necessary to hang in and do the job.
A good Al-Quieda strategy would be to saturate propaganda daring the US to do stupid, over-aggressive things, and portraying the US’s lack of having done so as "weak".
Well that’ll be a little hard to sell if we leave Iraq after standing up the government and ISF, won’t it?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Pablo, your desire to be right has clearly led your argument over the bend and off the cliff. Are you kidding? You think the US military is "peacekeeping" in Anbar province right now?
No, we’re whitewashing Anbar, baby!
At minimum, an unneccesarily broad one, one which Iraq would be better off if was resolved by other means,
Oh, do tell! What other means? Iraq troops? Hellooooo! McFly!

 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
Sadly, it’s the Iraqi people who have suffered the most — far more than they would have had Saddam stayed in power (especially women).
And your proof of that is what, exactly?
For women it’s been widely reported that while under Saddam they could work, drive, and live a generally secular lifestyle without hindrance (as long as they didn’t challenge the regime), now religious police and new laws have led women to lose jobs, get pulled from cars they are driving and beaten, and have far fewer options. Even child marriages (arranged or sold) are way up.

I saw or heard a really good report on this about a month ago, but can’t seem to find a web link (I think it was on NPR, but can’t find it). If you do a web search on Iraq women or "Iraq women losers" there are a lot of reports on this.

In general, Saddam by 2003 was a shadow of what he was before in his ability to terrorize. As long as you didn’t overtly challenge the government, you’d probably be OK, and you’d have electricity, food, and the basics. Now you can be killed for no reason without warning because of your ethnic group or insurgent fighting, and the number of dead is far greater than could have happened under Saddam. Saddam’s killing mostly came from his wars, but by 2003 he was a defanged tiger with real opposition (there were times in the 90s he was almost ousted). Can on *prove* alternate histories that if Saddam had been allowed to remain until either deposed or dead things would over the course of time be better? No, alternate histories are outside proof. But in terms of womens rights and the number dead — as well as services and stability — it’s hard to argue that Iraq life post-Saddam is superior to his reign (unless you are a member of a Shi’ite militia or a supporter of al-Sadr — then you definitely have it better now, and you can force women to behave the way you want them to!)
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~blog.htm
Uh, Scott? You’d better have a look at this:
Iraqis overall have a positive view of the toppling of Saddam Hussein. Asked, “Thinking about any hardships you might have suffered since the US-Britain invasion, do you personally think that ousting Saddam Hussein was worth it or not?” 77% say it was worth it, while 22% say it was not.

Gallup asked the same question in April 2004. At that time, 61% said that it was worth it and 28% said that it was not.
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
Most Shi’ia will say they prefer that Saddam is gone. That doesn’t mean that the life of an average Iraqi is truly better, and it doesn’t deny the erosion in women’s rights. We did take a stand in an ethnic conflict, and have given the majority group a chance for power they didn’t have before. I suppose that’s good, though I’m not convinced this was the best way to do it. Maybe if we left earlier without trying to create stability and shape what the future of Iraq would look like things might have been better. Probably this ultimately will benefit Iran far more than the US. In fact, the US has been very kind to Iran over the years, from Iran-Contra, to defeating its feared enemy Saddam in 1991 (and gaining benefits for Iran on the border dispute as well as giving them some aircraft), and now creating a nascent Arab Shi’ite Iranian ally. You’d think they’d be more thankful!
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~blog.htm
Most Shi’ia will say they prefer that Saddam is gone. That doesn’t mean that the life of an average Iraqi is truly better, and it doesn’t deny the erosion in women’s rights. We did take a stand in an ethnic conflict, and have given the majority group a chance for power they didn’t have before. I suppose that’s good, though I’m not convinced this was the best way to do it. Maybe if we left earlier without trying to create stability and shape what the future of Iraq would look like things might have been better. Probably this ultimately will benefit Iran far more than the US. In fact, the US has been very kind to Iran over the years, from Iran-Contra, to defeating its feared enemy Saddam in 1991 (and gaining benefits for Iran on the border dispute as well as giving them some aircraft), and now creating a nascent Arab Shi’ite Iranian ally. You’d think they’d be more thankful!
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~blog.htm

 
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