Daily Revolt

November 28, 2007

Military Progress Doesn't Make War More Popular

The Bushies think they've won the argument. The "success" of the surge only makes the need to remove troops from Iraq more feasible. George Dubya has a different idea. He, and his neocon buddies, want a permanent occupation of the country. Their agenda has been exposed. As a result, Mr.Bush's job rating has declined despite the "progress" in Iraq:
A new poll released yesterday underscored the changing political environment, finding the public more positive about the military effort in Iraq than at any point in 14 months as a surge of optimism follows the rapid decline in violence. Yet Bush remains as unpopular as ever in the survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, and the public remains just as committed to bringing U.S. troops home.

[...]The Pew poll highlighted the dichotomy in public views. Nearly half of Americans, or 48 percent, believe that the military effort in Iraq is going well, up from 30 percent in February, and 43 percent agree that U.S. forces are making progress in defeating insurgents, also up from 30 percent. The last time Americans felt as positively about the military effort was in September 2006.

Still, the proportion of Americans who want to bring troops home has remained essentially unchanged at 54 percent, as has the share who think the effort in Iraq will ultimately fail, at 46 percent. Bush's job approval rating has actually slipped by three points to 30 percent. (The survey was based on a sample of 1,399 adults interviewed from Nov. 20 to 26 and has a three percentage point margin of sampling error.)

Unfortunately, Bush is no longer under pressure to withdraw the troops:
And yet, at least to an extent, the Washington debate has moved on. Congress made only a faint effort to pass legislation mandating a troop withdrawal as part of a $50 billion war spending bill this month and then quickly shelved it. Not counting the Turkish conflict with Kurdish rebels, Bush at his most recent news conference last month was not asked about the Iraq war until the 10th question. Not a single Iraq question came up at four of White House press secretary Dana Perino's seven full-fledged briefings this month.

Similarly, the Democratic presidential candidates who seemed to talk about little other than Iraq early in the year have spent more time quarreling about other issues lately. At their Oct. 30 debate in Philadelphia, the word "Iraq" was used 44 times, but the word "Iran" came up 69 times. Even Andrews's antiwar group plans to launch a new campaign, including television and print ads, focused on Iran, not Iraq. The message to Democrats, he said, will be: "If you can't act to stop the war in Iraq, can you a least act to stop a war in Iran?"

It helps the Republicans. Democrats needed the Iraq war to win in November. Now they have to look for another issue:
Even so, it has changed some political calculations. If the violence remains down, it may enable Petraeus when he returns to Washington in March to recommend pulling out more than the 30,000 troops now scheduled to leave by July. If so, the fall general election could be played out against the backdrop of troops coming home.

"Now everybody says they're for pulling out troops," said Christopher F. Gelpi, a Duke University scholar who has studied wartime public opinion. "The question is just how fast. That fuzzes the issue. If violence is still down, if the cost of the mission goes down, that makes it easier to stay there even if there's no progress."

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home