Sunday, March 18, 2007

Iraqis Believe They're Better Off Now than Under Saddam

This finding is heartening for supporters of the surge. Iraqis do not believe there is a civil war and they do believe that 'the surge' will lead to a disarming of the militias. The trick is how to interpret the finding that they think security will improve after US and other foreign troops depart.

Does it mean they believe we won't leave until the job is done, or that our presence is in some way an impediment?

The survey of more than 5,000 Iraqis found the majority optimistic despite their suffering in sectarian violence since the American-led invasion four years ago this week.

One in four Iraqis has had a family member murdered, says the poll by Opinion Research Business. In Baghdad, the capital, one in four has had a relative kidnapped and one in three said members of their family had fled abroad. But when asked whether they preferred life under Saddam, the dictator who was executed last December, or under Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister, most replied that things were better for them today.

Only 27% think there is a civil war in Iraq, compared with 61% who do not, according to the survey carried out last month.

By a majority of two to one, Iraqis believe military operations now under way will disarm all militias. More than half say security will improve after a withdrawal of multinational forces.

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