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Opinions set in stone?
Posted by: McQ on Friday, August 31, 2007

Keith from Indy said yesterday in a comment about the GAO report:
Each side will highlite the select portions of the various reports that support their arguments. (And I’ll include myself in that statement.) And we’ll have yet another toss-up of conflicting visions and talking past each other. I think, most people who’ve made up their mind, aren’t going to change their mind anytime soon.
For the most part, I think he's right. But if you believe this Zogby poll, there is still an apparent segment of the country that is changing its mind about Iraq and has suddenly put at least these poll numbers in a majority saying they do not believe the US has lost the war in Iraq:
A majority of Americans - 54% - believe the United States has not lost the war in Iraq, but there is dramatic disagreement on the question between Democrats and Republicans, a new UPI/Zogby Interactive poll shows. While two in three Democrats (66%) said the war effort has already failed, just 9% of Republicans say the same.
That said, the breakdown is pretty predictable I think. The majority of self-identified Democrats say Iraq is a failure. The majority of self-identified Republicans say it isn't.

If we go a bit further, about 30 to 35% of Americans self-identify with each party. That means at most about 70% of Americans claim a party identification. So at a minimum 30% are "independents". And it appears that is where the battle of public opinion on Iraq is being fought.

Now I have no way to know how this particular poll compares with those which have claimed that 60% of Americans want US troops out of Iraq, but I'd guess that this would have an effect on those numbers as well. Whether or not it is enough to reverse the majority/minority in that case is something I don't know (but it is conceivable since it is hard to imagine a majority wanting to abandon a war they think we can win).

All that to say while Keith's words have some truth to them, there appears to be a real swing group if the polling is to be believed. That is why both sides who have reached a decision about Iraq are so intent upon what comes out of this month of reports. Because like it or not, believe them or not, these polls have become the leverage each side uses to call for withdrawal from Iraq or continuing the mission. And they know that perception is key for both sides. So watch for Keith's prediction to come through with a vengence, at least for the month ahead.
 
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Well, to expound on this, I think the vast majority of people don’t have their minds made up, one way or another. If you look at the various polls through the past years on this war, good news, like the Iraqi elections, showed an uptick in support, while the steady stream of bad news, has slowly eroded support.

The blog-sphere is a big echo chamber of mostly people who’ve made up their minds one way or another. So, it’s easy to look our and see heavily divided opinions. While in the real world, if people see progress, they are more likely to support the war. That explains the heavy propagandizing on both sides.

And this is an interesting tid-bit to throw in the mix...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/30/AR2007083002117.html
Saying the coming weeks will be "one of the last opportunities" to alter the course of the war, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said he is now willing to compromise with Republicans to find ways to limit troop deployments in Iraq.

Reid acknowledged that his previous firm demand for a spring withdrawal deadline had become an obstacle for a small but growing number of Republicans who have said they want to end the war but have been unwilling to set a timeline.

"I don’t think we have to think that our way is the only way," Reid said of specific dates during an interview in his office here. "I’m not saying, ’Republicans, do what we want to do.’ Just give me something that you think you would like to do, that accomplishes some or all of what I want to do."
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
I’m sorry...I just can’t get past the fact that our ultimate success/failure in this war is going to be decided by spin and polls.

I need a drink
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
I don’t think the polls or the politics of the war is as important as the reality on the ground and the military assessments.

The surge will continue into spring 2008, and then it won’t be sustainable. At that point, if Iraqi political developments do not show real improvement, and the security situation is such that further US involvement is unlikely to bring stability (e.g., Sunni-Shi’ite violence, or Shi’ite militia activity), then we’ll ultimately have to figure out a way to leave, hopefully setting up conditions to minimize any chaos at our departure. If somehow the optimists are right and there is stability and a sense that we’ve ’turned a corner,’ then there will be support for continuing our presence at higher levels, even if a Democrat wins the White House. The rest are just political games, not likely to have a lot of influence on policy.

I don’t see any cause for optimism looking not just at the snap shot of the current situation, but the structural problems I noted in my last post on comment topic 6760. I still believe that partition is probably the only viable way to minimize chaos, allow the US to have some troops there as leverage against Iran (in Kurdistan — they’d also be separating the Kurds and Turks), and which can start the work of building stable political cultures. Not the Iraq dreamed of in 2003, but I think everyone realizes now that those heady days were built on false beliefs.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I’m sorry...I just can’t get past the fact that our ultimate success/failure in this war is going to be decided by spin and polls.

I need a drink.
Yup ... and I’ll join you. But if you look at what’s going on, that’s precisely what drives all of this in Congress. For instance:
Four months ago, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid could confidently declare: "This war is lost." Now that is an open question. A recent Zogby poll found that a majority of Americans do not believe the war is lost. And this makes Democratic policies based on the assumption of hopelessness — rigid timetables and funding cuts — strategically irresponsible and politically risky. If defeat is inevitable, it makes sense to cut our losses. If defeat is only possible, preemptively ensuring it would confirm a long-standing Democratic image of weakness.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
The surge will continue into spring 2008, and then it won’t be sustainable. At that point, if Iraqi political developments do not show real improvement, and the security situation is such that further US involvement is unlikely to bring stability
To me, the more likely scenario is the security situation shows real improvement and relative stability, while the political situation shows a slow gelling of government control. I think you can see signs of this now, at many different levels. Co-operation is happening at the ground level, and I think we will see that gradually move to the federal level.
I still believe that partition is probably the only viable way to minimize chaos
Except that it is not up to us to decide that. It might have been in 2003, but not now. Now it would be up to the Iraqis to make that call.

I don’t know how I missed this comment on the thread you linked to...
I’m sure I’ll be accused of wanting to dash potential good news too quickly, but if you’ve studied third world politics you know that even passing a law doesn’t assure that it will be implemented and enforced as agreed
Heh, I think you can say that about politics in general, American or third world.

Getting used to the new political process is as important as the decisions they actually make.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
"I’m sorry...I just can’t get past the fact that our ultimate success/failure in this war is going to be decided by spin and polls.


Ain’t Democracy grand?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Saying the coming weeks will be "one of the last opportunities" to alter the course of the war, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said he is now willing to compromise with Republicans to find ways to limit troop deployments in Iraq.

Reid acknowledged that his previous firm demand for a spring withdrawal deadline had become an obstacle for a small but growing number of Republicans who have said they want to end the war but have been unwilling to set a timeline.

"I don’t think we have to think that our way is the only way," Reid said of specific dates during an interview in his office here. "I’m not saying, ’Republicans, do what we want to do.’ Just give me something that you think you would like to do, that accomplishes some or all of what I want to do."
Heh....he thought he could declare the surge as a loss, and get his way on the war. Now things look bleak (for him politically) and now he’s trying to salvage what he can.

Somebody sure lost Harry, only it wasn’t Petreaus, it was YOU.

From bold talk about ending (but never defunding, oh no!) the war to this. It really is too funny. Not so easy when you actually have to be in power, is it Harry? HEH HEH HAW @ this and the reaction of the nutroots
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
the reaction of the nutroots
That is going to be interesting to watch. They’re already disowning other Democrats for not sufficiently toeing the "party line." What are they going to do to Harry?
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
I’m sure I’ll be accused of wanting to dash potential good news too quickly, but if you’ve studied third world politics you know that even passing a law doesn’t assure that it will be implemented and enforced as agreed

Heh, I think you can say that about politics in general, American or third world.

Getting used to the new political process is as important as the decisions they actually make.
I guess now we have to be very clear headed in identifying what we can accomplish with the resources available in Iraq, and what is out of our hands due to Iraqi culture, society, or power structures. No illusions, neither hopeful illusions about what ’might be’ nor hopeless illusions that ’it’s all lost.’

I’m pessimistic that Iraq will blossom into a stable, functioning democracy any time soon, or even be truly stable. I am more optimistic, though, that some kind of genocide or mass chaos can be avoided. The key is to figure out what realistically can be accomplished and then do it, and to accept what is out of our hands, and let go.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I’m pessimistic that Iraq will blossom into a stable, functioning democracy any time soon, or even be truly stable.
Define, "any time soon..."

To me, what we are asking is going to take a decade to achieve, on the political end.

Now, as far as security is concerned, I think that can (and will) be accomplished within the next several months. Leaving a drawn down come spring, not only inevitable, but desirable.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
I really hope you’re right, Keith. I guess what concerns me is the nefarious underworld of that region — the militia, Iranian agents, the kind of people who created Hezbollah, and may desire to keep things from stabilizing. These groups are not only ruthless but competent. They also know how to stay undetected and infiltrate deep into governments and police forces. I don’t think it creates danger of genocide or anything, but Iraq as a larger Lebanon is a chilling thought.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Small steps, Erb. One at a time . . .
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://

 
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