The administration did a quick job of removing Saddam Hussain from power in Iraq with very little loss of life. For that, I commend them. However, the post invasion actions in Iraq have been, to put it mildly, embarrassing. Not only that, any attempt to win the hearts of the Iraqi people have failed at a high cost to the United States. If the Iraqi people supported our occupation, understanding their security would be improved by the additional security that we could provide, then perhaps it would be worth it. Helping a fledgling new democracy get their constitution and government in order. But we know the sad truth now that our approval there by the very people we are trying to help is at an all time low.
A new poll conducted for the UK Ministry of Defense and seen by The Sunday Telegraph shows us quite clearly that any delusions that our help in Iraq is wanted by the Iraqi people is very mistaken indeed. Not only that, it appears that more and more hostility is being supported towards the coalition forces. Many may have felt that this was the case, as was evidenced by a poll done in April of this year. But this poll is worse than the previous one because it includes the amount of support that the terrorists in Iraq are gaining. And to insure that those being questioned would not influence their answer through fear, the survey was conducted by an Iraqi university research team that was not told the data it compiled would be used by coalition forces. The findings show:
• 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
Less than one per cent of the population believes coalition forces are responsible for any improvement in security. Are kidding ourselves here? What on earth are we doing there less than one per cent of the people we are protecting think we are doing any good at all?
• 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
• 40 per cent of southern Iraqis are unemployed
We are a smart country. We have smart people running AND opposing the current administration’s efforts in Iraq. There should be some people who could take a break from bashing and hating each other to come to a consensus on how to get out of Iraq where the people don’t want us without abandoning them to the terrorist groups that are starting to run the show and giving the terrorist groups the ammunition to claim it as a victory and harden towards the west even further.
My question is, can we do it? Can we get together as a country and find a way to say, ‘Ok, Iraq, you’re now going to have to make it on your own or fail on your own.’ and then leave as we should have done a year ago? Until they are required to stand on their own two feet there is no way that they will have a chance to succeed. Only with a chance of failure can success become possible.
It’s time for some ‘big boy pants’ to be put on.