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Re: [casi] Opinion polls

Johann Hari/Iraq Prospect Organisation's pro-imperialist propaganda piece in
18 September 'Independent' was refuted by this letter printed in the same
paper on the 20th:

Sir: Johann Hari is still doing his best to justify his support for the war
on Iraq.
I too returned to Iraq to see for myself after 34 years in exile. But I
arrived at conclusions contrary to those of Mr Hari and his Iraqi
informants. He is happy to quote his informants' nonsense that "even after
liberation, they [the Iraqi people] couldn't understand that they were free;
they didn't understand what it meant." This I presume is his answer to the
plain fact that the Iraqi people refused to shower the invaders with
I talked with scores of people in Baghdad and, with only two exceptions,
they opposed the US occupation and regarded it as the US "master" (ussta)
replacing the "apprentice" (sani). For it is almost universally believed in
Iraq, even among some supporters of the invasion, that the US was the power
that not only backed Saddam's tyranny and armed him with WMD, but worked for
decades to keep him in power. Saddam's old right-wing friends, Rumsfeld and
co, are recruiting Saddam's security men and are prepared to derench Iraq in
new bloodbaths precisely to stop its people from achieving democracy and
true liberation.  (signed: Sami Ramadani, Senior lecturer, Dept of Applied
Social Sciences, London Metropolitan University)

As for opinion polls.... how do you capture something as complex and
contradictory as human consciousness, hopes, and emotions, in a land where
the imperialist devil runs amok, putting the population in greater peril
than they have ever been? Are we so unsure of ourselves that we can be
swayed by pollsters who think that they can measure minds in the same way
that fascists once measured craniums? The Zogby International opinion poll
has provided the material for a plethora of pro-occupation articles in
newspapers in the US and UK. It is interesting, therefore, to read how the
Financial Times reported the same poll:

Opinion poll underlines Iraqi distrust of America

By Guy Dinmore in Washington

Financial Times/September 11 2003
Braving bullets, arrests and hot pursuit while carrying out the first
scientific survey of Iraqi public opinion, pollsters commissioned by a
conservative US think-tank have discovered that most Iraqis do not trust
Americans and want to be left alone.
John Zogby, president of Zogby International, which completed the poll last
month, summed up the findings yesterday, saying that, like most Arabs,
Iraqis want to "control their own destiny", without the intervention of
outside forces, and are confident in their own ability.
"Now that tyranny is over," he said, "it is time to move forward but not as
a colony."
In that sense Iraqis broadly agree, but for different reasons, with the Bush
administration's stated goal of handing over power and getting out as soon
as possible.
Commissioned by the American Enterprise Institute, the pollsters sought to
survey a representative cross-section of Iraqi society by going to four
cities: Mosul and Kirkuk in the north, Ramadi in the mostly anti-US Sunni
area of central Iraq, and Basra in the Shia south. A total of 600 people
were interviewed in public places.
In Ramadi the pollsters were caught in crossfire in an ambush of US forces.
One was arrested by Kurds in the north, while others were chased by car. In
Basra some were detained for 24 hours.
Asked if the US and UK should help make sure a fair government is set up in
Iraq, or if the Iraqis should work this out themselves, 31.5 per cent wanted
help while 58.5 per cent did not.
Some 38.2 per cent agreed that democracy could work well in Iraq, while 50.2
per cent agreed with the statement that "democracy is a western way of doing
things and it will not work here".
Asked whether in the next five years the US would "help" Iraq, 35.3 per cent
said yes while 50 per cent said the US would "hurt" Iraq. Asked the same of
the UN, the figures were almost reversed, with 50.2 per cent saying it would
 help and 18.5 per cent the opposite.
Reguarding US and British troops, some 31 per cent wanted them to leave in
six months and a total of 65.5 per cent in a year. Some 25 per cent said
they should stay two years or more.
Interviewees were given a list of five countries they would like to model
Iraq after.
A total of 36 per cent chose the four Middle Eastern countries listed (16
per cent for Saudi Arabia, 11 per cent for Syria, 6.5 per cent for Egypt and
2.8 per cent for Iran) while 21.5 per cent settled for the US, the only
western country listed.
Seven out of 10 Iraqis think their country and their personal lives will be
better five years from now.


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