There has been a lot of talk about polls around here lately. Have you seen any of these?
From the LATimes/Bloomberg poll conducted 1/13-1/16 this year
“In your opinion, should the United States withdraw troops from Iraq right away, or should the U.S. begin bringing troops home within the next year, or should troops stay in Iraq for as long as it takes to win the war?” Withdraw
Stay as Long As It Takes Unsure % % % % 1/13-16/07 19 46 30 5
“Generally speaking, do you think the U.S. has a moral obligation to help pay for the reconstruction of Iraq, or not?”
Does Does Not Unsure % % % 1/13-16/07 39 55 6
From two CNN opinion polls conducted recently:
“Thinking specifically about the additional troops President Bush plans to send to Iraq, what would you want your members of Congress to do? Should they vote to allow the government to spend money in order to send more troops to Iraq, or vote to block the government from spending money to send more troops to Iraq?” (Half sample, MoE ± 4.5) Allow Block Unsure % % % 1/19-21/07 36 61 2 1/11/07 38 60 3
At what point exactly did America come to be populated by idiots? I believe it to be well established that I am no particular fan of President Bush and I do not believe that it was a good idea to go into Iraq (and did not believe it to be a good idea at the time). However, we have made the mess and we need to deal with it.
The Iraqi people are not better off for our having been there. While living under a brutal dictator is not an ideal life (or, arguably, a very good life), it is probably preferable to living at the heart of a civil war. If we were to leave, the aggression that is currently being directed at our troops would be turned inward. Of course, there is plenty of aggression going inward right now anyway.
We created this problem. We supported Saddam back in the day. When he failed to do as we asked, we cut him off, earning his ire. We ousted the brutal dictator that was the only thing holding the country together. Blaming the Iraqis for not knowing how to handle a situation that we created (mostly to avoid talking about how we don’t know how to handle the situation either) is not the solution.
We need to accept that we are in this for the long haul. If we leave an unstable Iraq in the lurch, it will hurt the stability of the Middle East and it will hurt our national security. If we leave Iraq anytime within the next 5 years or so (probably longer), we will be leaving it in the lurch.
The other day I heard Ted Koppel on NPR. His point was simple. Our politicians are just looking for a way out of Iraq. None of the reasons why we went there have held up and now noone seems to understand the importance of our staying. We have established benchmarks for the Iraqis to meet, that will allow us to withdraw troops and give the Iraqi government more autonomy. If they fail to meet the benchmarks, we are threatening to withdraw our troops. That is so circular, backwards, and self-serving that it is ridiculous, and yet it seems to be the overriding answer we are presented with today.
I didn’t want this war, but we all have it and we all must bear the consequences of our mistakes. There is no easy way out. Anyone who tells you otherwise is running for the 2008 presidency.
The polls that I cited (along with several similar polls) can be found here.