The Iraqis Have Spoken, But Will We Listen
Several new polls were released today by World Public Opinion and surprise, surprise, the Iraqis (still) want US forces out of their country.
Seven out of ten Iraqis overall—including both the Shia majority (74%) and the Sunni minority (91%)—say they want the United States to leave within a year.
Those numbers have risen significantly over the last year as the situation on the ground in Iraq has gone from bad to worse. We can argue over whether or not we should have started this war in the first place (but even that argument has quieted down as fewer and fewer of the architects of the policy are willing to defend it) but we can’t waste too much time arguing over whether or not we should leave, only how to go about it. Indications are that the President will attempt to stay the course which means that the Democratic Congress will have to stand up and speak for the majority of Americans that want an end to the occupation and the overwhelming majority of Iraqis that want the same.
The righties, demoralized by their election night loss, are lashing out all over the place, picking up where the White House left off in hurling insults at what they call “the left” but what is really “the middle” these days. Wanting an end to this ill fated occupation is not a fringe idea and those of us pushing for some common sense in our foreign policy to not “hate America” or “want us to lose”, we’re just smart enough to know that that is not possible and instead of punishing the Iraqi people further, we’d rather see those that caused this crisis to be punished instead.
Sure, there are problems that will arise from a US withdrawal of troops from Iraq and the left in this country and the Iraqi people are not unaware of the consequences, most especially the Iraqis living in Baghdad.
Nonetheless, the number of Shias in Baghdad who fear an upsurge in violence if U.S. troops withdraw within too short a time span has risen a dramatic 52 points since the beginning of the year. Six out of ten Shias in Iraq’s capital city (59%) believe that sect-on-sect killings would rise in the event of a speedy U.S. withdrawal. This view contrasts with that of Shias in the rest of Iraq, where a majority (64%) thinks such violence would decline if U.S. troops departed in six months.
The Bush administration has fucked this up royally and that is exactly why we should do exactly the opposite of whatever they propose. This President has no aptitude for problem solving nor the intellectual curiosity necessary to bring about a resolution to the problems he’s created. Bush’s only concern (and the sole purpose of the Baker Commission) is salvaging his legacy. At this point, that is as much a lost cause as “winning” in Iraq.