Saturday, March 17, 2007

Through a Glass Darkly

Tigerhawk links to a Times of London article on a recent poll taken in Iraq which found the majority believed things better now than they were under Saddam Hussein and optimistic despite the fact that one in four Iraqis has had a family member murdered; only 27% think there is a civil war in Iraq, compared with 61% who do not. By a majority of two to one, Iraqis believe military operations now under way will disarm all militias. More than half say security will improve after a withdrawal of multinational forces.


The Times article has no theory to explain these paradoxical results. Nor do I wish to offer one, but perhaps these observations are in order. Optimism is a function of where people think things are trending, whatever the state of the present. It may also reflect the view that current difficulties are not an permanent condition but temporary sacrifices to be borne because they are necessary to the solution of a basic problem.

It is interesting to speculate on where the Coalition presence fits into the picture. The coalition is obviously necessary to "disarm all militias", but its eventual departure is also desired. This squares with what I've frequently heard in round-table blogger discussions with officers in Iraq that nearly every Iraqi wants the US to leave, but very few of them want America to leave immediately.

What the poll amounts to is a snapshot of what the Iraqi public thinks the trajectory should be. It implies that they desire a post-Saddam world free of certain influences which they are now struggling against; that the US has a role in helping them reach that state after which they devoutly wish it would leave. But as to what the future state is the poll gives precious little indication. All we can surmise that it is a fundamentally national state without militias, but the poll as reported lets us see no further. And neither perhaps can anyone else.


Blogger Frege said...

There is a difference between saying that Iraq will be better off WHEN American forces leave and Iraq will be better off BECAUSE American forces left. There is only tension in the poll if you understand Iraqis to be saying that the security situation will improve as a result of Americans leaving. The poll is consistent if Iraqis meant that the Americans are improving the situation and when they leave that will be BECAUSE the situation has improved.

3/17/2007 10:12:00 PM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

shhh dont tell the world we are better than saddam and bush is not hitler...

shhh dont tell the arab world that israel is really not the nazis as they teach daily, otherwise the arab "question" which could have be solved by either israel or the usa would have happened already.

shhh dont tell iran that still having one person left alive is not winning a war and not to take lessons of hezbollah's historic win over israel

shhh dont tell the egyptians that they lost in 1973

shhh dont tell the left wing nutjobs that their hero jimmy "the dhimmi" carter was a shitty president that caused MOST of the current iran problem (forget 21% interest rates, oil boycott, military in shambles that could not land 3 helio's in the desert.

shhh dont tell the anti-war protesters that 4000 deaths for a war this size and duration is unprecedented, for it's LACK of deaths...

shhh dont tell these morons shit, since they would NOT KNOW it if it was thrown into their face...

3/17/2007 10:21:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

Perhaps one reason behind the perception that security will improve after coalition forces leave is that the Iraqis can then "take off the kid gloves" and butcher the terrorists, their supporters, their families, and their family pets.

Even most Iraqis may be getting impatient with the politically correct way the Americans are fighting the war. Saddam only got a trial before hanging because we insisted on it.

I wonder how the Sunnis voted in that poll?

3/18/2007 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger Buffy said...

An Islam without fanatics is no kind of Islam at all. But if some pockets of modernity exist in the middle of the muslim world after this chapter is read, that might be a type of victory.

Islamic fanaticism comes in waves of conquest. If the energy of this particular wave can be dissipated without enslaving hundreds of millions of westerners under muslim oppression, that would be a victory for this century at least.

3/18/2007 01:42:00 PM  
Blogger Zeno said...

Is this the same poll that the BBC announces as Pessimism 'growing among Iraqis'???

3/18/2007 03:14:00 PM  
Blogger KGS said...

Regardless of whether or not either of the polls mentioned are any real indicator to what the average Iraqi thinks, what do you think of the media surpressing one in order to highlight the other?

Here in Finland, the media succombed to their usual modus operandi, and published the poll that conforms to how they view the conflict.

Check it out. *L* KGS

The Tale of Two Polls, Tundra Tabloids Called It Right.......

3/19/2007 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger Jamie said...

zeno, I don't think so. The BBC partnered with ABC and USA Today and commissioned their own poll.

3/19/2007 03:38:00 PM  
Blogger RonWF said...

More than half say security will improve after a withdrawal of multinational forces.

Was this question phrased in such a fashion as to specify unambiguously the Coalition forces? Or could it have meant all foreign forces, including Syrians, Iranians, etc.?

3/20/2007 11:05:00 AM  

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