Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Another Poll: The 'Sunni' Resistance

If you believe the propaganda spewing forth from the US government, the sycopanthic 'liberal' media and 101st Fighting Keyboarders, the Iraqi resistance is a bunch of foreign terrorists allied to local diehards from the 20% Sunni Arab part of the population, who coerce even the majority of this 20% to boycotts and such. However, in truth:

"... a recent internal poll conducted for the U.S.-led coalition indicated that nearly 45 percent of the Iraqi population supports the insurgent attacks... Only 15 percent of those polled said they strongly support the U.S.-led coalition."

Let's contemplate what this means. Even if we assume
  1. that this poll was not warped from the beginning by its assotiation to the occupiers (wording of the questions, willingness of the polled to answer honestly),
  2. that it managed to represent Sunnis in the inaccessible Anbar and Niniveh provinces,
  3. and further assume that all Sunnis and all members of smaller minorities are pro while all Kurds anti (no Occupation there),
  4. and use the standard numbers (55% Shi'a Arab, 20% Sunni Arab, 20% Kurd, 5% other),
- that is: the scenario most favorable to war supporters - this still means that more than a third of even the Shi'a Arabs supports armed resistance. (I suspect if we take the above four points in account, it's more like 55% of both the Shi'a and the entire population.)

You may wonder how that could be, if you bought that other line of propaganda that all the resistance are terrorists who mainly attack civilians. But don't let the relative numbers of casulaties deceive you: obviously terrorists have more success in killing defenseless civilians than guerillas have in killing soldiers in bulletproof wests riding armoured vehicles with superior weapons at their disposal, not to mention air support. Instead, remember that for at most a dozen terrorist attacks a day, there are at present 70 or so against the occupiers. (Consult this graph too.)

And then there are the demoralised local auxiliary forces, whom their instructors, in best colonial tradition, detest for lack of "courage, discipline and dedication". (Read this and more in this superb WaPo account of the supposed crack Iraqi unit, the "Charlie Company".)

So here is the double Argument From Absurdity that currently keeps too many non-warbots from calling for a withdrawal of occupying forces: the spectacular failure of US troops - busy attacking those who want the occupiers out - to stop the terrorist attacks on civilians means they are still needed there to stop terrorist attacks; and the US troops can't withdraw until local troops fail to take over the job of confronting attackers of US troops...

Polls Scepticism

What the heck, one post if I'm here.

There is much buzz across the blogosphere about new US polls showing a fall in various ratings of Bush and the war. I am sceptical about a turning point, however: there hasn't been much change in the numbers that count. Here are two of them (the latter in two versions from two polls), via pollingreport.com:

"Do you think the U.S. made the right decision or the wrong decision in using military force against Iraq?" [June 8-12 Pew poll]

Right decision: 47%, Wrong decision: 45%

What this means when contrasted with the often touted numbers about whether the war was worth the costs: there are some 10% of Americans who think it will be worth the costs - after more blood has been paid for it.

"Do you think the U.S. should keep military troops in Iraq until the situation has stabilized, or do you think the U.S. should bring its troops home as soon as possible?" [June 8-12 Pew poll]

Keep troops: 50%, Bring home: 47%

"Which comes closest to your view about what the U.S. should now do..." [June 6-8 Gallup poll]

Send more troops: 10%, Same as now: 26%, Withdraw some: 31%, Withdraw all: 28%

The "Withdraw some" camp in the latter obviously involves those who for some reason believe a total, but phased withdrawal somehow means less mess than the alternatives. Note that the "Withdraw all" camp, those who supposedly realised that the occupiers won't keep the situation from turning worse (in fact help it become worse), slumps back from a 30% glass ceiling every few months. I'd say 75-80% of Americans still live in fairyland.

To close, I repeat what I wrote elsewhere: Bush and the neocon puppetmasters aren't in real danger until some of the core numbers - Bush's overall job rating and 'War on Terror' job rating, approval of the original decision to go to war, support for withdrawal and/or lack of support for "finishing the mission" - skirt 40%.

Not Out Of Work

...I mean, sorry for no posts for a month now, but I am busy lately, I can barely keep up with my news reading, not much time left for posting.