Wednesday, September 10, 2003

A poll of Iraqi opinion

Commissioned by the American Enterprise Institute, it offers some interesting observations.

One conclusion wasn't too shocking. It turns out that the majority (the Shi'ites) are in favor of democracy and the minority (the Sunnis) are against it. You might expect the group that presumably would have the most power under the new arrangement to be in favor of it.

Interesting quote:
Inchoate anxiety toward the U.S. showed up when we asked Iraqis if they thought the U.S. would help or hurt Iraq over a five-year period. By 50% to 36% they chose hurt over help. This is fairly understandable; Iraqis have just lived through a war in which Americans were (necessarily) flinging most of the ammunition. These experiences may explain why women (who are more antimilitary in all cultures) show up in our data as especially wary of the U.S. right now. War is never pleasant, though U.S. forces made heroic efforts to spare innocents in this one, as I illustrate with firsthand examples in my book about the battles. Evidence of the comparative gentleness of this war can be seen in our poll. Less than 30% of our sample of Iraqis knew or heard of anyone killed in the spring fighting. Meanwhile, fully half knew some family member, neighbor or friend who had been killed by Iraqi security forces during the years Saddam held power. Perhaps the ultimate indication of how comfortable Iraqis are with America's aims in their region came when we asked how long they would like to see American and British forces remain in their country: Six months? One year? Two years or more? Two thirds of those with an opinion urged that the coalition troops should stick around for at least another year.

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