Americans immune to the "good news" from Iraq
By Joshua Holland
Posted on June 13, 2006, Printed on June 14, 2006
Around thirty percent of Americans would continue to support President Bush if he broke down their door, came into their house and urinated on their children. Same with Iraq; a similar number will always support the war as a matter of faith, regardless of what transpires on the ground.
But, according to a new CBS poll, the rest of us have become inoculated to the “good news” from Iraq.
The death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has done little to improve views of how things are going for the U.S. in Iraq or boost President Bush's approval ratings, a CBS News poll finds.[…]
Half [of those polled] think the level of violence in Iraq will be unchanged by Zarqawi's death, while 30 percent say it will actually lead to more attacks against U.S. forces. Just 16 percent think the number of attacks will decrease as a result of his death.
Sixty-one percent also say Zarqawi's death won't have any impact on the terrorist threat against the United States, while 22 percent it will increase that threat. Thirteen percent predict a decreased risk of terrorism.
Compare that with the CBS poll following the capture of Saddam Hussein:
The immediate impact of the capture of Saddam Hussein by U.S. troops includes improvements in public perception of how the war is going for the U.S. in Iraq, whether it has been worth it, and assessments of President Bush’s handling of Iraq.[…]
In the last few days, there has been a double-digit rise in President Bush's rating on handling Iraq, some improvement in his overall approval rating, and a large shift in the public’s mood. […]
In CBS News/New York Times polling conducted December 10-13, the four days before the former Iraqi leader’s arrest, Bush’s job approval rating was 52 percent. In the two days after U.S. forces captured Saddam Hussein, the President’s overall approval rating rose modestly to 58 percent, with 33 percent disapproving. Bush's approval rating is his highest since last July.
This administration has proclaimed one milestone too many in Iraq, and it’s paying the price.
Joshua Holland is a staff writer at Alternet and a regular contributor to The Gadflyer.