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Monday, October 24, 2005

Mandate 

Courtesy of our esteemed colleagues at Many Angry Gerbils: They had to search long and hard, but they finally found a demographic group that likes Mr. Bush even less than black people do:
Millions of Iraqis believe that suicide attacks against British troops are justified, a secret military poll commissioned by senior officers has revealed.

The poll, undertaken for the Ministry of Defence and seen by The Sunday Telegraph, shows that up to 65 per cent of Iraqi citizens support attacks and fewer than one per cent think Allied military involvement is helping to improve security in their country.

It demonstrates for the first time the true strength of anti-Western feeling in Iraq after more than two and a half years of bloody occupation.

The nationwide survey also suggests that the coalition has lost the battle to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people, which Tony Blair and George W Bush believed was fundamental to creating a safe and secure country . . . .

The survey was conducted by an Iraqi university research team that, for security reasons, was not told the data it compiled would be used by coalition forces. It reveals:
  • Forty-five per cent of Iraqis believe attacks against British and American troops are justified - rising to 65 per cent in the British-controlled Maysan province;

  • 82 per cent are "strongly opposed" to the presence of coalition troops;

  • less than one per cent of the population believes coalition forces are responsible for any improvement in security;

  • 67 per cent of Iraqis feel less secure because of the occupation;

  • 43 per cent of Iraqis believe conditions for peace and stability have worsened;

  • 72 per cent do not have confidence in the multi-national forces.
The opinion poll, carried out in August, also debunks claims by both the US and British governments that the general well-being of the average Iraqi is improving in post-Saddam Iraq . . . .

[The reconstruction effort] appears to have failed, with the poll showing that 71 per cent of people rarely get safe clean water, 47 per cent never have enough electricity, 70 per cent say their sewerage system rarely works and 40 per cent of southern Iraqis are unemployed.
UPDATE: Have we got an exit plan for you! From May 14, 2004:
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said today that if the interim Iraqi government scheduled to take power in six weeks asks the United States and its coalition partners to pull its troops out of Iraq, "we would leave" . . . .

Powell said that if an elected Iraqi government asked the troops to leave, "We would say, 'Glad we've been able to help you,' and we would return our forces back to the United States" . . . .

[Jack Straw, Britain's foreign secretary] added: "Were they to ask us to leave, we would leave."

And Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi, said, "We would go back to Japan if requested."

Still, Powell said, even as the United States was emphasizing that it wanted to give "as much power and authority to this (interim) government as it can handle," the United States government believed that "the security situation is such that we're confident that this new government will want us to stay in considerable strength in order to help them with the building of institutions and with the preparing of their society for elections by the end of January 2005."
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