Monday, May 17, 2004

Iraqis know an occupation when they see one 

In an LA Times article “Iraqi Silence Indicts U.S. Occupiers” Alissa Rubin confirms that Iraqis do indeed view the U.S. as occupiers:

“The widespread and increasing resentment toward the U.S. is reflected in polling results over the last several months. Support for the U.S. presence here eroded dramatically well before photographs of the Abu Ghraib prison abuses came to light, according to two reputable polling organizations, the Iraqi Center for Research and Strategic Studies and the Independent Institute for Research and Civil Society Studies.

Between October and April, the percentage of Iraqis viewing the United States as an occupier rather than a liberator or peacekeeper more than doubled — from 43% to 88%, according to Dulaimi's Center for Research. The Independent Institute had almost identical numbers for the same question.

Similarly, the percentage of Iraqis wanting the U.S. troops to immediately leave the country rose from 17% in October to 57% in April, according to the Center for Research. Both polls rely on samples of between 1,200 and 1,600 people in at least five cities around the country. Interviews are done in person by Iraqi surveyors."

Of course, the real issue is not how many Iraqi’s view the Americans as occupiers. It is how many of them are willing to pick up arms and fight the occupiers or at least provide aide to those who do. It is only probably a small fraction of the 88% who are to that point. And even that small portion is creating enormous problems for the occupiers. Wait until next year when that portion is more substantial.

On another interesting little point the article exposed one of the big lies currently being propogated by many of the apologists for the war. Check out this gem:

”In what appears to be a closely related opinion shift, public support has risen dramatically for cleric Muqtada Sadr, who has been trying to rally a populist uprising against the U.S. occupation. Three months ago, 2% to 3% of Iraqis said they supported or strongly supported him; since his militia's confrontations with the U.S., more than 50% of those polled either somewhat support or strongly support him, according to the Center for Research.”

So instead of being some small time thug with limited support it appears that Muqtada Sadr has now has the support of 50% of the population. And by confronting the U.S. his support has gone from 2% or 3% to 50%. What this tells me is that for every member of his militia we kill there will be dozens to take his place. For the U.S. military the fighting going on in Najaf and Karbala is clearly a losing proposition if ever there was one.


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