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A pleasant surprise to see Barbara Crossette's byline on the following, which reads like an antidote to U.S. opinion polls urging attacks on Iraq. As Crossete summarizes, FPA support for regime change is weak, while support for more Iraq 'relief aid' is strong. The full report also includes the following tally of interest to CASI:
"Maintain sanctions until Iraq complies fully with UN resolutions." Agree: 32% DISAGREE: 54%
Golden Valley, MN USA
December 30, 2001
Little Support for Iraq Attack in Group's Poll
By BARBARA CROSSETTE
Americans with some knowledge of foreign affairs have told the Foreign Policy Association this year that they oppose overthrowing President Saddam Hussein of Iraq unless the Iraqis invaded Kuwait again or were proved to have revived major weapons programs.
The poll, by the Foreign Policy Association, also indicated that the respondents opposed an explicit pledge to defend Taiwan against an attack by China and expanded spending on a missile shield.
Moreover, they want to save the 1972 Antiballistic Missile Treaty, from which President Bush intends to withdraw.
This year's topics for the association's annual poll were chosen, the materials sent out and ballots collected in the first half of the year - long before Sept. 11 or the comments by some in the Bush administration that Mr. Hussein might be tied to the attacks.
But the large margins against military intervention in Iraq would indicate that there would have to be convincing evidence against Mr. Hussein to sway public opinion.
Asked, for example, if an offensive by Iraqi troops on Kurds in the north, an area now under an autonomous, but not independent, government, would justify a United States attack, 52 percent said no and 38 percent yes. A joint effort with Iraqi opposition forces to unseat the Iraqi government was rejected by 66 percent of respondents and supported by only 25 percent. Of those who responded, 71 percent thought sanctions should be eased to permit more relief aid to Iraq.
The poll of the association's members was conducted by mail, and 30,472 returned the ballots - "dominated by ballots returned from California, Virginia, Illinois, Pennsylvania and New York, in that order," the association said. Those who responded showed strong support for continued globalization of trade, the provision of low-cost drugs to poor countries and the creation of a guest- worker program with Mexico.
The association, based in New York with coordinators around the country who lead discussions involving about 400,000 people a year, works to involve citizens in foreign policy debates. Its members include some academics with expertise in foreign affairs as well as lay people.