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[casi] Zogby speaks

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I believe that I have read the distorted view from two of our contributors,
here is what James Zogby has to say about it.  Now, lets see if the US/uk
aggression apologists will actually read this, or sweep it aside and republish the

Published on Wednesday, October 22, 2003 by the <A HREF="">Arab News</A>

How the Poll Results on Iraq Were Manipulated

by James Zogby

Early in President Bush's recent public relations campaign to rebuild support
for the US war effort in Iraq, Vice President Cheney appeared on "Meet the
Press." Attempting to make the case that the US was winning in Iraq, Cheney made
the following observations: "There was a poll done, just random in the last
week, first one I've seen carefully done; admittedly, it's a difficult area to
poll in. Zogby International did it with American Enterprise magazine. But
that's got very positive news in it in terms of the numbers it shows with respect
to the attitudes to what Americans have done. "One of the questions it asked
is: 'If you could have any model for the kind of government you'd like to
have' - and they were given five choices - 'which would it be?' The US wins hands
down. If you want to ask them do they want an Islamic government established,
by 2: 1margins they say no, including the Shiite population. If you ask how
long they want Americans to stay, over 60 percent of the people polled said they
want the US to stay for at least another year. So admittedly there are
problems, especially in that area where Saddam Hussein was from, where people have
benefited most from his regime and who've got the most to lose if we're
successful in our enterprise, and continuing attacks from terror. But to suggest
somehow that that's representative of the country at large or the Iraqi people are
opposed to what we've done in Iraq or are actively and aggressively trying to
undermine it, I just think that's not true." In fact, <A HREF="">Zogby 
(ZI) in Iraq had conducted the poll, and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI)
did publish their interpretation of the findings. But the AEI's "spin" and the
vice president's use of their "spin" created a faulty impression of the
poll's results and, therefore, of the attitudes of the Iraqi people. For example,
while Cheney noted that when asked what kind of government they would like,
Iraqis chose "the US... hands down," in fact, the results of the poll are
actually quite different. Twenty-three percent of Iraqis say that they would like to
model their new government after the US; 17 .5 percent would like their model
to be Saudi Arabia; 12 percent say Syria, 7 percent say Egypt and 37 percent
say "none of the above." That's hardly "winning hands down." When given the
choice as to whether they "would like to see the American and British forces
leave Iraq in six months, one year, or two years," 31.5 percent of Iraqis say
these forces should leave in six months; 34 percent say a year, and only 25
percent say two or more years. So while technically Cheney might say that "over 60
percent (actually it's 59 percent) ... want the US to stay at least another
year," an equally correct observation would be that 65.5 percent want the US and
Britain to leave in one year or less. Other numbers found in the poll go
further to dampen the vice president's and the AEI's rosy interpretations. For
example, when asked if "democracy can work well in Iraq," 51 percent said "no; it
is a Western way of doing things and will not work here." And attitudes toward
the US were not positive. When asked whether over the next five years, they
felt that the "US would help or hurt Iraq,"50 percent said that the US would
hurt Iraq, while only 35.5 percent felt the US would help the country. On the
other hand, 61 percent of Iraqis felt that Saudi Arabia would help Iraq in the
next five years, as opposed to only 7.5 percent, who felt Saudi Arabia would
hurt their country. Some 50. 5 percent felt that the United Nations would help
Iraq, while 18.5 percent felt it would hurt. Iran's rating was very close to
the US', with 53. 5 percent of Iraqis saying Iran would hurt them in the next
five years, while only 21. 5 percent felt that Iran might help them. It is
disturbing that the AEI and the vice president could get it so wrong. Their misuse
of the polling numbers to make the point that they wanted to make, resembles
the way critics have noted that the administration used "intelligence data" to
make their case to justify the war. The danger, of course, is that painting a
rosy picture that doesn't exist is a recipe for a failed policy. Wishing
something to be can't make it so. At some point, reality intervenes. It's a hard
lesson to learn, but it is dangerous to ignore its importance. For the
administration to continue to tell itself and the American people that "all is well,"
only means that needed changes in policy will not be made. Consider some of the
other poll findings:
Over 55 percent give a negative rating to "how the US military is dealing
with Iraqi civilians." Only 20 percent gave the US military a positive rating.

By a margin of 57 percent to 38 . 5 percent, Iraqis indicate that they would
support "Arab forces" providing security in their country.

When asked how they would describe the attacks on the US military, 49 percent
described them as "resistance operations." Only 29 percent saw them as
attacks by "Ba'ath loyalists."

When asked whom they preferred to "provide security and restore order in
their country," only 6 . 5 percent said the US. Twenty-seven percent said the US
and the UN together, 14 . 5 percent preferred only the UN. And the largest
group, 45 percent, said they would prefer the "Iraqi military" to do the job
alone. There are important lessons in all of this. Lessons policy makers ought to
heed if they are to help Iraq move forward. What the Iraqi people appear to be
telling us is that they have hope for the future, but they want the help of
their neighbors more than that of the US. That may not be what Washington wants
to hear, but it ought to listen nevertheless. Because if policy makers
continue to bend the data to meet their desired policy, then this hole they are
digging will only get deeper.

Roger Stroope
Northern Arizona University
Flagstaff USA

~Just 10% of our military budget spent yearly on the United States could give
every high school graduate a college education for four years.

~The proposed $48 billion increase in military spending for next year (2004)
is bigger than the total military budget of any other country on earth.

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