No End In Sight
By David Peterson at Sep 07, 2007
If, say, the Overlords in Arthur C. Clarke's sci-fi
novel Childhood's End had shocked and awed
the planet Earth some time in early 2003, and
were currently occupying large swaths of the
continental United States, then I, not only as a
U.S. citizen, but more importantly as a citizen
of the world, do hope that I could count on
something greater than just 67 percent of global human opinion to demand that these foreign forces -- alien forces, in fact, in every sense of the word -- withdraw from U.S. territory immediately -- or as quickly as possible. And go the hell back -- not just to a base on the moon or to an extended orbit around our planet -- but to their own goddam planet. Which is where they rightly belong. And never should have left in the first place.
How, then, should you and I read the net-findings of the GlobeScan opinion survey that was released just yesterday?
Global Poll: Majority Wants Troops Out of Iraq within One Year, GlobeScan, PIPA, and BBC, September 6, 2007. (For the Questionnaire. And the accompanying news release.)
GlobeScan asked 23,000 adults across 22 different countries the following question (during the period from late May through late July of this year):
Which of the following do you think the U.S.-led forces in Iraq should do? Should they...
A) Withdraw immediately
B) Commit to gradually withdraw according to a one-year timetable
C) Remain in Iraq until security improves
E) Don't Know
Thirty-two percent of Americans chose Option C, "Remain in Iraq until security improves." To repeat: 32 percent of Americans chose the proposition that their armed forces should occupy Iraq indefinitely -- the real meaning of Option C.
After Kenya, where 45 percent of its population also chose Option C, the highest commitments overall to U.S. forces remaining in Iraq indefinitely were voiced in the Philippines (44%), Israel (40%), Nigeria (34%), South Korea (33%), the United States (32%), Australia (30%), Great Britain (27%), Germany (24%), Canada (23%), Italy (23%), Brazil (22%), Spain (18%), India (17%), Chile (16%), Mexico (16%), China (15%), France (15%), Indonesia (12%), Turkey (11%), Russia (9%), and Egypt (7%).
As for Iraq? It appears that nobody asked the Iraqis. Presumably, they'd have a more realistic assessment of their predicament. (At least outside the Green Zone, anyway.)
So here were are in early September, 2007. Almost six years into the nearly invisible war over Afghanistan. And four-and-a-half years into the war over Iraq. With untold hundreds-of-thousands of Afghan and Iraqi deaths. A U.S.-based anti-war movement (so called) that shoots it wad over U.S.casualties. (Or, worse, over what's allegedly orchestrated against the Darfur states of the western Sudan by the Arabs in Khartoum.) And to top it off, the Supreme International Criminal -- whose crimes against the peace are the primary cause of these human catastrophes -- busy talking-up yet another supreme international crime, this time against neighboring Iran. While the Congress of the United States does nothing to check its imperial Executive.
And after all of this, our world can't produce more than 67 percent who believe that the American overlords should get out of Iraq within the next 12 months?
"Iran fight now more likely," UPI, August 30, 2007
"No End In Sight," ZNet, September 7, 2007
Update (September 7): Another large-scale survey of some 13,000 people in 13 different countries (i.e., 12 EU countries and the USA) was released yesterday: The annual Transatlantic Trends survey (2007 edition).
I'd like in particular to call everyone's attention to the kind of themes this survey broached with respect to Iran and its nuclear program: See the Topline Data file, Question 17 and Question 18 (pp. 37-42).
Therein, we find the following questions asked:
Question 17 (p. 37): Diplomatic efforts are underway to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Should these efforts fail, which of the following strategies would you most favor? [See below.]
Question 18 (pp. 38-42): If Iran obtains nuclear weapons, how likely or not do you think it is that the following will happen? Just give us your best guess.
18.1) Iran will attack other countries in the region
18.2) Other countries in the Middle East will decide that, like Iran, they should have nuclear weapons as well
18.3) Iran will supply nuclear weapons to terrorists
18.4) Iran will threaten Europe with nuclear weapons
18.5) Iran will only use nuclear weapons for defensive purposes (if attacked themselves)
The bias here is so deep that it runs to the center of the earth. Iran is not a nuclear-weapon state, and no one has established -- outside the allegations that originated with the Washington regime between four-and-a-half and five years ago -- that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons. Nor did it dawn on the designers of this large survey to ask one or more questions from a different point of view:
In 2001 the United States attacked Afghanistan, and in 2003, the United States attacked Iraq. How likely or not do you think it is that the United States will attack Iran?
In the reporting and discussion to be found in the Key Findings file, we read that (p. 4, col. 1):
* Eighty-three percent of Americans and 68% of Europeans agreed that a nuclear Iran would lead to further proliferation in the Middle East. Similarly, 54% of Europeans believed that a nuclear Iran has the potential to threaten Europe. If Iran was to acquire nuclear weapons, Americans (82%) and Europeans (68%) agreed it would supply nuclear weapons to terrorists.
* Should diplomatic efforts fail to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, most Americans and Europeans agreed that diplomatic pressure should be increased, but they differed over keeping the option of using military force. Forty-seven percent of Americans felt that diplomatic pressure should be increased while maintaining the option of military force, compared to just 18% of Europeans.
But wait -- it gets worse. In Section Two, "Global Threats and Rising Powers" (pp. 8-11), respondents were prompted: "In the next 10 years, how likely are you to be personally affected by the following threats" (p 9)? Of the eight different categories of "threats" listed for evaluation, "International Terrorism," "Iran Acquiring Nuclear Weapons," and "Islamic Fundamentalism" make their ominous appearance (along with "Energy Dependence," a "Major Economic Downturn," "Immigrants/Refugees," the "Global Spread of Disease," and the "Effects of Global Warming"). But no one was asked about threats of attack by the Supreme International Criminal. Or threats posed by the eight known nuclear weapon-states. Which only goes to figure, as the Transatlantic Trends 2007 survey sampled the opinion of only that part of the planet earth known as Europe and the USA.
In Section Four, "Prospects for Transatlantic Cooperation—Afghanistan and Iran" (pp. 17-20), the following question is reported: "Should diplomatic efforts fail,which of the following strategies would you most favor to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons" (p. 19)?
There were four options:
12 EU States United States
Accept that Ian may develop
nuclear weapons 7% 6%
Maintain the present level of
diplomatic pressure on Iran 19% 11%
Increase diplomatic pressure on
Iran but rule out the use of
military force 47% 32%
Increase diplomatic pressure on
Iran and maintain the option of
using military force 18% 47%
As if to make us feel better, the Key Findings file explaind that (p. 19, col. 2):
Within the United States, Democrats and Republicans also agreed that, should diplomacy fail to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, pressure should be increased, but they differed on whether to rule out the option of the use of force. Democrats were roughly divided, with 40% who felt the military option should be ruled out and 35% who felt it should be maintained. By contrast, 65% of Republicans felt the option of military force should be maintained while 20% felt the option should be ruled out.
Clearly, it is five minutes to Midnight as far as the United States goes. Equally clear, the national political culture of the United States needs to be renamed. Forget the nonsense about the Republicans and the Democrats. All that remains are the Greater and Lesser Militarists. But very little else.
Transatlantic Trends 2007 -- Key Findings, German Marshall Fund of the United States, September 6, 2007. (Also see the Overview.)
Transatlantic Trends 2007 -- Topline Data, German Marshall Fund of the United States, September 6, 2007
Update (September 12): Here is a pretty comprehensive list of all of the print and wire-service reports that I've found to have mentioned the D3 Systems - KA Research opinion survey carried out inside Iraq August 17-24 on behalf of ABC News, the BBC, and the Japanese Broadcasting Corporation (NHK).
What D3 Systems - KA Research opinion survey am I taking about, you wonder? --
I'm confident that if I keep looking around, I'd be able to expand the list. But not in any substantial way: This mid-August 2007 opinion survey, taken in the pre-Crocker-and-Petraeus Dog 'n Pony Tour of Washington D.C. period, has received next to no coverage in the U.S. print media. In fact, the three short excerpts you'll find reproduced at bottom from the Los Angeles Times (63 words), the New York Times (53 words), and a Washington Post commentary by Eugene Robinson (204 words), comprise all that I've found for the major U.S. print media up till now.
"Iraq's Own Surge Assessment: Few See Security Gains," ABC News Polling Unit, September 10, 2007
"Iraq poll September 2007: In graphics," BBC International, September 10, 2007
"U.S. surge has failed -- Iraqi poll," BBC International, September 10, 2007
"Iraq poll makes for grim reading," Nick Childs, BBC International, September 10, 2007
Alan Fram, Associated Press, September 10, 2007
Anne Flaherty, Associated Press, September 10, 2007
N.A., Deutsche Presse-Agentur, September 10, 2007
N.A., Japan Economic Newswire, September 10, 2007
Wesley Johnson, Press Association Newsfile, September 10, 2007
N.A., The White House Bulletin, September 10, 2007
Anne Davies and Suzanne Goldenberg, The Age (Melbourne, Australia), September 11, 2007 N.A., Arab News website, Jedda, in English, September 11, 2007
N.A., Chinadaily.com.cn, September 11, 2007
Richard Norton-Taylor and Patrick Wintour, The Guardian (London), September 11, 2007 "Petraeus report: Telling it like it isn't," Editorial, The Guardian (London), September 11, 2007
"Bush's Legacy of Failure," Editorial, Gulf News, September 11, 2007
Patrick Cockburn, The Independent (London), September 11, 2007
N.A., Indo-Asian News Service, September 11, 2007
N.A., The Irish Times, September 11, 2007
Sam Enriquez, Los Angeles Times, September 11, 2007
Alessandra Stanley, New York Times, September 11, 2007
Derwin Pereira, The Straits Times (Singapore), September 11, 2007
N.A., Voice of America News, September 11, 2007
Eugene Robinson, "'Six Months' Without End," Washington Post, September 11, 2007
N.A., The Toronto Star, September 13, 2007
Maliki's assertion of a dramatic fall in violence did not appear to match the impression of most Iraqis. A national poll of Iraqis released Monday by ABC News, the BBC and Japan's NHK broadcasting found that 70% of respondents said they believed the increase in U.S. troop strength has made security worse, and another 11% said they believed it has had no impact. (Sam Enriquez, Los Angeles Times, September 11, 2007.)
After showing fiery images of a recent car bomb explosion, ABC News delivered the results of its most recent survey of Iraqi public opinion, conducted with BBC News and the Japanese broadcaster NHK. More than 65 percent of those polled said they felt the situation was worse now than when the surge began. (Alessandra Stanley, New York Times, September 11, 2007.)
One funny thing about the improved security situation that Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker described: Iraqis don't seem to have noticed. In a poll of Iraqis commissioned by ABC News, the BBC and the Japanese network NHK -- released yesterday before Petraeus's testimony -- 31 percent of Iraqis said security in their local areas had worsened over the past six months, as opposed to just 24 percent who said it had improved. A full 61 percent said security had worsened in the country overall, against only 11 percent who said it had gotten better. Only 22 percent said things in general were going well in Iraq (down from 44 percent in November 2005), and just 23 percent thought things would get better over the coming year (as opposed to 69 percent in 2005). Some 63 percent of Iraqis polled said the U.S. invasion was wrong, 47 percent said that coalition forces "should leave now" and 57 percent said attacks on U.S. forces were "acceptable." Never mind what the Iraqis think. On with the new new strategy, which is to bypass the national government and work from the bottom up, making deals with local power brokers. That should be good for, what, another six months? (Eugene Robinson, "'Six Months' Without End," Washington Post, September 11, 2007.)