Bush’s claim of progress in Iraq isn’t getting the response he hoped for
Despite President Bush’s recent claims that we are seeing “returns on success” in Iraq, a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that a large majority of Americans still support withdrawing US troops:
Recent reports of fewer casualties in Iraq haven’t altered most Americans’ perceptions of the war: Fifty-nine percent still don’t think the United States is making significant progress restoring civil order there, and a record six in 10 want the level of U.S. forces reduced.
Those results in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll seem to reflect a continued hardening of attitudes on Iraq. Views on progress are unchanged from early September, and they haven’t been positive since December 2005, shortly after the Iraqi elections.
Authorities have reported a decline in violence in October. Nonetheless, 2007 has been the deadliest year overall for U.S. military forces in Iraq. Sixty percent favor withdrawing U.S. forces, a new high (by a scant 2 points from September), while just 9 percent favor increasing troop levels, matching the low set in December 2005. At the same time relatively few, 17 percent, favor an immediate withdrawal of all U.S. forces, matching its average in polls since 2006.
All told, 63 percent say the war was not worth fighting, almost exactly its average this year and a majority steadily since December 2004. Intensity against the war continues to run high, with 51 saying they feel “strongly” that it was not worth fighting, more than double its strong supporters.
Congress is set to vote on a Defense Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2008 that does not include funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They may take up a “bridge fund” to continue funding operations there, but the next major action on Iraq is still expected to be in early 2008.