A surprising new poll by leading media organizations, as the sixth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq queitly approaches this week, finds that despite progress there, most Iraqis still dislike or distrust America -- and wish we did not invade in the first place.
The new poll of more than 2,200 Iraqis, an annual venture by ABC and the BBC and NHK networks, finds that most Iraqis agree that things are going much better there and they feel a lot safer. This is significant and great news. At the same time, they seem to have not warmed to the U.S. much and want us to leave very soon.
Last year, 70% of Iraqis in the same survey said we were doing a bad job there. This year that dropped all the way to ...69%. And that includes the always more favorable views of the Kurds.
That means 90% of Sunnis are negative (remember, they are supposed to be "awakening" towards us), and two out of three Shiites agree-- largely unchanged from 2008.
Nearly as many (64%) say the U.S. is hurting Iraq as Iran (68%). But the views of nearly every other country have improved quite a bit, including Saudi Arabia, Syria and the UK.
But here's a key finding and the rejoinder to the constant call for war critics (and Obama) to admit that it was, despite everything, correct to topple Saddam: 56% now say the U.S. was wrong to invade, actually up (despite the cooling of violence) since last year's 50%.
And 57% say they aren't too concerned about what might happen after the U.S. exits. This also runs counter to conventional wisdom in the U.S. media.
In fact, about half want us to leave faster than the current timetable.
From an ABC summary:
"Just 27 percent are confident in U.S. forces (albeit nearly double its low). Just 30 percent say U.S. and coalition forces have done a good job carrying out their responsibilities in Iraq. Still fewer, 18 percent, have a positive opinion of the United States overall. Barely over a third think the election of Barack Obama will help their country."
Greg Mitchell's latest book is "Why Obama Won." His book last year on Iraq and the media was titled, "So Wrong for So Long."
How will Trump’s administration impact you? Learn more