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Jason Holliston
Wednesday, June 16, 2004  
New Poll: Iraqis Don't Like Us

A new poll by Newsweek (thanks to Andrew Sullivan for the pointer) shows a staggering dislike for Americans or the occupation among Iraqis. Essentially, non-Kurdish Iraqis don't like the Coalition forces, don't like the Coalition Provisional Authority, and think the Coalition are "occupiers" and not "liberators". Most of these indicators have been on a downward swing for quite some time, by the look at it. It also shows an improving opinion of Moqtada al-Sadr, the so-called cleric that has fought Coalition forces over the past few months.

There is a couple bright notes: Iraqi's opinions of their own institutions, including the national police and army, as well as their governmental agencies, are high. Also, Iraqis believing that Coalition forces should stay until after a permanent government is elected is slightly ahead of people that believe they should leave immediately (45% to 51%), and if you add in "As long as CFs think necessary for stability" and "Two years", the figure grows to 55% to 41%.

So, they don't like us there and don't think highly of the CPA, but they don't want us to leave -- yet. Here's my shoot-from-the-hip analysis: on one side, it hurts a people's pride to have help get rid of a nasty dictator and get their house in order. I understand that - that's thinking with their heart. With their head, though, they realize that they have needed us in the past, and need us in the near future. The two viewpoints, even though they appear to be divergent, are probably perfectly natural.

Note to the Iraqis: we don't to stay there forever, or even a long time. The cost to us -- both in blood and treasure -- is a hard thing to swallow, even for those of us that know our cause is just and necessary. As soon as you guys can stand on your own feet without slipping into civil war and chaos, we'll retreat to our military bases. Don't trust me on that, but look at our past and how we've dealt with occupations in the past, such as Japan and Germany. No matter what people like Michael Moore and Noam Chomsky say, we have no stomach or desire to be colonialists.

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