Everyone, everyone, everyone wants the U.S. out of Iraq
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Democrats, Republicans and independents join Iraqi Sunnis, Shi'ites and Kurds in their desire for the U.S. to at least set a timeline for withdrawal from Iraq. That leaves only corporate and political elites - both here and there - and those Americans who want to show the world who's boss saying that we should stay until the security situation improves.
A majority of Americans of every political persuasion support Congressman Jack Murtha's call for a rapid redeployment of U.S. troops out of Iraq. More Republicans support it than Democrats.
A poll of 1004 registered voters by Wright Consulting, commissioned by the blog MYDD, asked respondents to choose their preferred course of action in Iraq. Unlike many other polls, which asked questions like "Do you agree with Democratic Congressman John Murtha's withdrawal plan," this poll laid out the specifics of Murtha's proposal without attributing it to a Democrat. That removed the partisan bias. In all, 63.3 percent supported the "Murtha Plan." Chris Bowers of MYDD added:
What is perhaps most stunning about the Murtha proposal is how it is supported almost exactly the same by Democrats (59.3%), Republicans (63.7%) and Independents (65.9%).
That's a key finding, but knowledge of it is limited so far to the small number of Americans who read blogs. In a different political climate, we'd have headlines screaming: "64% of Republicans agree with Murtha's call for withdrawal!"
The American people are constantly told that our departure would result in chaos - a narrative that began before sectarian tensions in Iraq heated up. It may or may not be true -- it's certainly not a given -- but Iraqis, who should know best, want at least a definite timetable for a U.S. pull-out.
According to a new poll [ PDF] of 1150 Iraqis conducted by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, 70 percent of Iraqis want the fledgling government to request a U.S. timetable for withdrawal, including 64 percent of Kurds and 90 percent of Shi'ites.
Among the more than two-thirds of Iraqis who want the U.S. to withdrawal, the number is evenly divided between those calling for a rapid pull-out and others who want a withdrawal to be completed within two years. The Kurds - a small, historically-repressed minority -- are, understandably, the most cautious. The Kurds - who make up about a quarter of the population -- are the only group in which a majority (57%) wants the U.S. to stay until the security situation improves. Overall, only 29 percent of Iraqis desire U.S. forces to remain until then. There may be a risk of the country descending into civil war, but Iraqis are willing to take that chance.
One of the things we don't hear much about in analysis of what's driving the insurgency is that while a large majority of Iraqis want their government to ask the U.S. for a timetable to get out, three quarters of them don't believe the U.S. will honor such a request. That cuts across sectarian lines: two-thirds of Shi'Ites and three quarters of Kurds agree. Eight out of ten Iraqis believe the U.S. plans to build and maintain permanent bases in Iraq.
That, right there, is the difference between being viewed as a liberator or an occupier. That explains why almost half of all Iraqis -- including four in ten Shi'ites - approve of attacks on American forces.
Everyone wants us out, including Republicans. Everyone thinks of us as occupiers and not liberators, including Kurds and Shi'ites. The insurgency against U.S. forces has wide support. All the rest is just spin, and that's what our troops are now dying for.