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.