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What Iraqis Really Think

We asked them. What they told us is largely reassuring
The Wall Street Journal

September 10, 2003
Opinion Section
By Karl Zinsmeister

America, some say, is hobbled in its policies toward Iraq by not knowing much about what Iraqis really think. Are they on the side of radical Islamists? What kind of government would they like? What is their attitude toward the U.S.? Do the Shiites hate us? Could Iraq become another Iran under the ayatollahs? Are the people in the Sunni triangle the real problem?

Up to now we've only been able to guess. We've relied on anecdotal temperature-takings of the Iraqi public, and have been at the mercy of images presented to us by the press. We all know that journalists have a bad-news bias: 10,000 schools being rehabbed isn't news; one school blowing up is a weeklong feeding frenzy. And some of us who have spent time recently in Iraq--I was an embedded, reporter during war-have been puzzled by the postwar news and media imagery, which is much more nega­tive than what many individuals involved in re­constructing Iraq have been telling us.
Well, finally we have some evidence of where the truth may lie. Working with Zogby International survey researchers, The American Enterprise magazine has conducted the first scientific poll of the Iraqi public. Given the state of the country, this was not easy. Security problems delayed our intrepid fieldworkers several times. We labored at careful translations. regional samplings and survey methods to make sure our results would accu­rately reflect the viewws of Iraq's multifarious, long-suffering people. We consulted Eastern Eu­ropean pollsters about the best way to elicit honest answers from those conditioned to re­press their true sentiments.

Conducted in August, our survey was. neces­sarily limited in scope, but it reflects a nationally representative sample of Iraqi views, as cap­tured in four disparate cities: Basra (Iraq's sec­ond largest, home to 1.7 million people, in the far south), Mosul (third largest, far north), Kirkuk (Kurdish-influenced oil city, fourth largest) and Ramadi (a resistance hotbed in the Sunni trian­gle). The results show that the Iraqi public is more sensible, stable and moderate than com­monly portrayed, and that Iraq is not so fanati­cal, or resentful of the U.S., after all.
Iraqis are optimistic. Seven out of 10 say they expect their country and their personal lives will be better five years from now. On both fronts, 32% say things will become much better.

The toughest part of reconstructing their nation, Iraqis say by 3 to 1, will be politics, not economics. They are nervous about democracy. Asked which is closer to their own view-"De­mocracy can work well in Iraq," or "Democracy is a Westernn way of doing things"-five out of 10 said democracy is Western and won't work in Iraq. One in 10 wasn't sure. And four out of 10 said democracy can work in Iraq. There were interesting divergences. Sunnis were negative on democracy by more than 2 to 1; but, critically, the majority Shiites were as likely to say democracy would work for Iraqis as not. People age 18-19 are much more rosy about democracy than other Iraqis, and women are significantly more positive than men.
Asked to name one country they would most like Iraq to model new government on from five possibilities--neighboring, Baathist Syria; neighbor and Islamic monarchy Saudi Arabia; neighbor and Islamist republic Iran; Arab lodestar Egypt; or the U.S. --the most popular model by far was the U.S.

The U. S. was pre­ferred by 37% of Iraqis selecting from those five-more than Syria, Iran and Egypt put together. Saudi Ara­bia was in second place at 28%. Again, there were important demographic splits. Younger adults are especially fa­vorable toward the U.S., and Shiites are more admiring than Sunnis. Interestingly, Iraqi Shi­ites, coreligionists with Iranians,- do not admire Iran's Islamist govern­ment; the U.S. is six times as popular with them as a model for governance.

Our interviewers Inquired whether Iraq should have an Islamic government, or instead let all people practice their own religion. Only 33% want an Islamic government; a solid 60% say no. A vital detail: Shiites (whom Western reporters frequently portray as self-flagellating maniacs) are least receptive to the idea of an Islamic government, saying no by 66% to 27% It is only, among the minority Sunnis that there is interest in a religious state, and they are split evenly on the question.

Perhaps the strongest indication that an Islamic government won't be part of Iraq's fu­ture: The nation is thoroughly secularized. We asked how often our respondents had attended the Friday prayer over the previous month. Fully 43% said "never." It's time to scratch "Khomeini II from the list of morbid fears.

You can also cross out "Osama II": 57% of Iraqis with an opinion have an unfavorable view of Osama bin Laden, with 41% of those saying it is a very unfavorable view. (Women are especially down on him.) Except in the Sunni trian­gle (where the limited support that exists for bin Laden is heavily concentrated), negative views of the al Qaeda supremo are actually quite lop­sided in all parts of the country. And those opin­ions were collected before Iraqi police announced it was al Qaeda members who killed worshipers with a truck bomb in Najaf.

And can write off the possibility of a Baath revival. We asked "Should Baath Party leaders who committed crimes in the past be punished, or should past actions be put behind us?" A thoroughly unforgiving Iraqi public stated by 74% to 18% that Saddam's henchmen should be punished.

This new evidence on Iraqi opinion suggests the country is manageable. If the small number of militants conducting sabotage and murder inside the country can gradually be eliminated by American troops (this is already hap­pening), then the mass of citizens living the Tigris Euphrates Valley are likely to make reasonably sensible use of their new freedom. "We will not forget it was the U.S. soldiers who liberated us from Saddam," said Abid Ali, auto repair shop owner in Sadr City last month-and our research shows that he's unrepresentative.

None of this is to suggest that the task ahead will be simple. Inchoate anxiety toward the U.S. showed up when asked Iraqis if they thought the U.S. would help or hurt Iraq over a five-year period. By 50% to 36% they chose hurt over help. This is fairly understandable; Iraqis have just lived through a war in which Americans were (necessarily) flinging most of the ammunition. These experiences may explain why women (who at are more antimilitary in all cultures) show up in our data as especially wary of the U.S. right now. War is never pleasant, though U.S. forces made heroic efforts to spare innocents in this one, as I illustrate with firsthand example in my book about the battles.

Evidence of the comparative gentleness of this war can be seen in our poll. Less than 30% of our sample of Iraqis knew of heard of anyone killed in the spring fighting. Meanwhile, fully half knew some family members, neighbor or friend who had been killed by Iraqi security forces during the years Saddam held power.

Perhaps the ultimate indication of how comfortable Iraqis are with America's aims in their region came when we asked how long they would like to see American and British force remain in their country: Six months? One year? Two years or more? Two thirds of those with an opinion urged that the coalition troops should stick around for at least another year.
We're making headway in a benighted part of the world. Hang in there, America.

Mr. Zfnsmeister, editor in chief of The American Enterprise magazine and holder of the J.B. Fuqua chair at the American Enterprise Institute, is the author of "Boots on the Ground: A Month With the 82nd Airborne in the Battle for Iraq, "just out from St. Martin's Press.


Want to know more read the poll for yourself!
Zogby International Conducts 1st Scientific Survey of Iraq


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The article What Iraqis Really Think
We asked them. What they told us is largely reassuring.

What do Iraqis want? And when can they get it?

Opposition to the article Iraqis Do Not Trust Americans, Says Poll

[casi] WSJ misquoted Zogby Iraq poll

homepage: homepage: http://www.oregongrapevine.com/WallStreet091003iraq.html

Thanks For the Old, Yet Distorted repost 23.Sep.2003 22:31

quagmired

It looks to me like the Iraqis think that things will be better in five years, because:

A) Things suck so badly now, they can't get much worse, and

B) The invading forces will hopefully get the fuck out by then.


Here is more from that poll:

Q4. Which of the following statements, A or B, comes closer to your view?

A: Democracy can work well in Iraq.
B: Democracy is a Western way of doing things and it will not work here

-A 38.6%

-B 50.8%


Q6. Should America and Britain help make sure a fair government is set up in Iraq, or should they just let Iraqis work this out themselves?

-America and Britain help 32.3%

-Iraqis alone 59.9%

(*Iraqis also think the US will hurt Iraq over the next five years, rather than help it, as mentioned in the article above)

Q17. Over next five years will -The United Nations

-Help Iraq 50.2%

-Hurt Iraq 18.5%

*****

 http://216.239.33.104/search?q=cache:WFi8OlITBbAJ:www.taemag.com/docLib/20030905_IraqpollFrequencies.pdf+Zogby+Iraq+poll&hl=en&ie=UTF-8

*****

Nice try though. David Reinhart himself couldn't have written a much more pathetic article than that one.

Consider the Source(s) 23.Sep.2003 23:14

well, finally "the truth"

Wall Street Journal?

via American Enterprise Institute?

(Zogby is just an interloper here . . .)

Here are some thoughts from a "real" Iraqi woman 23.Sep.2003 23:41

Get "Real"

Friday, September 19, 2003

Terrorists...
The weather has 'broken' these last few days. It's still intolerably hot, but there's a wind. It's a heavy, dusty wind more reminiscent of a gust from a blow-dryer than an actual breeze. But it is none-the-less a wind, and we are properly grateful.

The electrical situation is bizarre. For every 6 hours of electricity, three hours of darkness. I wish they would give us electricity all night and cut it off during the day. During the day it's hotter, but at least you can keep busy with something like housework or a book. At night the darkness brings along all the fears, the doubts and... the mosquitoes. All the sounds are amplified. It's strange how when you can see, you can't hear so many things... or maybe you just stop listening.

Everyone is worried about raids lately. We hear about them from friends and relatives, we watch them on tv, outraged, and try to guess where the next set of raids are going to occur.

Anything can happen. Some raids are no more than seemingly standard weapons checks. Three or four troops knock on the door and march in. One of them keeps an eye of the 'family' while the rest take a look around the house. They check bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms and gardens. They look under beds, behind curtains, inside closets and cupboards. All you have to do is stifle your feelings of humiliation, anger and resentment at having foreign troops from an occupying army search your home.

Some raids are, quite simply, raids. The door is broken down in the middle of the night, troops swarm in by the dozens. Families are marched outside, hands behind their backs and bags upon their heads. Fathers and sons are pushed down on to the ground, a booted foot on their head or back.

Other raids go horribly wrong. We constantly hear about families who are raided in the small hours of the morning. The father, or son, picks up a weapon- thinking they are being attacked by looters- and all hell breaks loose. Family members are shot, others are detained and often women and children are left behind wailing.

I first witnessed a raid back in May. The heat was just starting to become unbearable and we were spending the whole night without electricity. I remember lying in my bed, falling in and out of a light sleep. We still weren't sleeping on the roof because the whole night you could hear gunshots and machinegun fire not very far away- the looters still hadn't organized themselves into gangs and mafias.

more at:  http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com/

Why did you skip Question 5? 23.Sep.2003 23:58

mangx

Look at the big picture not just the info that supports your view..

Question 5 If you were asked to name one foreign country you would like Iraq to model its newgovernment on, which one of the following countries would you choose?

The U.S. got the highest persentage!


Look at Their Choices 24.Sep.2003 00:24

Quit yer Propaganda

Sure thing "mangx". Even with the crappy choices, the US model only received 22% of the vote, while the combined total for "other", "none", and "missing" was 42%.

Then what about Question 7? 24.Sep.2003 00:41

mangx

People call information "Propaganda" that they are not able to proves false.

7. Given a choice, would you like to see the American and British forcesleave Iraq in six months, one year, or two years or more?

57% wants the US to stay for one to two years!

You must admit that there is more here than proof for one point of view, and being closed minded is most like not a good idea.

Nonsense 24.Sep.2003 01:04

Quagmire

Again, look at their choices. The choice of "Get those murderous greedy fucks out of my country NOW!" was not on the list, and judging from the response to Q6, and Q11, I would guess that this would be the overall favorite. Also, your analysis is flawed. You can not add "GET OUT in one year, (33%)" and "GET OUT in 2+ years, (35%)", and claim that 57% (58%) of Iraqis WANT the invaders to STAY for 2+ years.

There is certainly more than one way to look at this data, but to claim this poll as proof of Iraqi approval for the occupation is spin at its best. Better open a fresh can.

You'll dismiss this like the rest 24.Sep.2003 02:38

James

The Zogby poll is not the only poll to show these same results. Others have been done independently, and have shown nearly the exact same results. Britain's Spectator magazine did a poll July 17, though only in Baghdad, which showed 67% support for US military presence.

The fact is, Indymedia posters are extremely dismissive to any positive news coming out of Iraq, without any basis in logic. You'll reject this poll in your own mind for no good reason other than to support your presently held views. It doesn't jive with what you believe, so you'll disbelieve it and forget it. There's a term for this: cognitive dissonance.

Look at the logical fallacies popping-up in this thread already: poisonings of the well, red herrings, strawmen.

It's interesting. If I post a positive comment from RiverBendBlog, I'm immediately ridiculed for posting the singular opinion of a woman in Iraq, from an Internet blog of all places. But if someone posts something negative from the very same blog, the comments are "thoughts from a *real* Iraqi woman." Those "*real* thoughts" are then accepted into discussion without criticism.

By averting your eyes from this poll, you're only doing yourself a disfavor. Self-censorship has never helped anyone. The poll is significant. And in dismissing it, you'll miss the other important information contained in it, and its press coverage. To wit, consider the following statement in this WSJ piece:

"Evidence of the comparative gentleness of this war can be seen in our poll. Less than 30% of our sample of Iraqis knew of heard of anyone killed in the spring fighting. Meanwhile, fully half knew some family members, neighbor or friend who had been killed by Iraqi security forces during the years Saddam held power."

This is an (almost assuredly deliberate) misquote of the poll. The WSJ piece says 50% knew someone who had been killed "by Iraqi security forces" during Mr. Hussein's rule. But the Zogby poll actually says "killed in war or by Iraqi security forces" during Mr. Hussein's rule.

The difference then is stunning: millions were killed in the Iran-Iraq war and the first Gulf War. Fifty percent of Iraqis knew someone killed during Mr. Hussein's rule, when millions died. And 30% know someone who died during the latest conflict? (Even though current estimates of civilian deaths range around "only" 3,000-6,000, and military deaths are estimated "only" in the tens of thousands). Could that be explained through six degrees of seperation? (Respondents saying yes if a friend of a friend died). Maybe. I don't know. But the figure sure seems stunning, and would seem to support the idea that many more died in this war than we currently know.

Even considering 'six degrees', the figure completely destroys the WSJ contention that the war was "comparatively gentle."

But my broader point is simple: If someone has an actual argument against this poll (and the others) that does not rely on prior personal assumptions, or logical fallacies, I'd like to hear it. But otherwise, stop being so dismissive -- of this poll and other positive news.

breathtakingly self-serving imperialist claptrap 24.Sep.2003 02:39

me

So what a surprise! The neoimperialist svengalis of the American Enterprise Institute -- and assorted other lapdogs "bedded" with them -- take a poll, and waddya know! , The Iraqis Love America Afterall!

Of course they want to be more like the US than the other choices. The US is the richest country in the world and the only country offered on AEI's menu of choices that isn't ruled by perpetual family dictatorships and feudal theocrats (at least not until recently). Of course, Switzerland would also have been a popular choice too. But Switzerland wasn't offered because the designers of the poll aren't really interested in the preferences of Iraqis, only in how to mold those preferences in ways favorable to their imperialist agenda.

Sure, they want the US military to stay, if the choice is to have their country start looking like Afghanistan, full of heavily armed gangsters, warlords, and religious fanatics. Saddam himself was just another such gangster warlord until the US smiled favorably upon him. (Apparently, this factor doesn't enter into AEI's accounting, as they conveniently chock up all Iraqi ambivalence about the US to unfortunate "collateral damage" and war trauma.) I'm sure the alternative of a multilateral UN peacekeeping force would also have been more popular than chaos, and perhaps even more popular than US hegemony, but, once again, the AEI isn't interested, so the Iraqis don't get that choice either.

guess what. 24.Sep.2003 07:44

this thing here

this poll doesn't change shit on the ground in iraq.

this poll doesn't shave one f'ing cent off the price tag of this "adventure".

this poll doesn't guarantee one bit of success for the bush admin. in iraq.

hellooooo, rise and shine people. it's NOT a question of if the iraqi's LIKE us or not, IT'S A QUESTION OF WHAT THE FUCK ARE WE DOING THERE AND CAN WE DELIVER ALL OUR PRETTY SOUNDING PROMISES TO THE IRAQIS. it's on OUR backs, and WE hoisted it up there. you may like your new car, but when the transmission falls out of it, then what? iraqi's may like us there, but if we can't get the power back on, the security straight and the government set up, then what? it's got jack shit to do with what the iraqi's "think"...

Here, here, this thing here 24.Sep.2003 09:11

Quagmire

The poll also doesn't justify an illegal invasion.

James, is your last name Baker? The shitty poll shows that 30% of Iraqis had family members, neighbors, or friends killed in this spring's glorious, humane, and seemingly bloodless war, in only three weeks time. Meanwhile, 50% members, neighbors, or friends killed in waror by security forces during the years that Saddam "the Butcher of Baghdad" Hussein held power for DECADES!

You must have a screw loose if you think that spells 'good will' from the Iraqi people. Whether or not the Iraqis greet the invaders as liberators, the rest of the world knows that the justification is rotten to the core.

You've completely missed my point 24.Sep.2003 11:25

James

Of course it doesn't justify the invasion. I never claimed that it did. Nor did I say the 30% figure spelled good will. On the contrary, I was pointing out the significance of that figure -- the fact that the two figures are so similar, when one covers two wars and decades and the other covers a single six month conflict. (And the nerve of the WSJ to misquote the Zogby poll to make an entirely different point).

When I talk about the Iraq war here, I may have to start adding a caveat to my author name -- "James; And remember, I've been against the war since the beginning." People here seem to have difficulty seperating two different arguments.

Nor did I claim this poll would physically change the situation. But it is important, and it is something to think about.

the importance of valid research 24.Sep.2003 12:21

someone

This is not a question of being dismissive, for me, and for others I'm sure, it's a question of recognizing poor research. I suppose it's always good to remind people to consider their beliefs and biases but to attack a person when their own postings are filled with such assumptions is hypocritical.

As I've stated before, this research is not good research. The questions were leading, and the methods of conducting the research were not revealed (and it doesn't look like you can even purchase that information), and the confounding variables are numerous and significant.

One of the most significant confounding variables (and one that I find priceless) is that an invading army is polling the occupied country on how they feel about the invasion. It's like something straight out of Dr. Strangelove, or maybe Brazil.

I've tried to ask people to put themselves in the position of Iraqis being given this survey. We have the US raiding houses on the most flimsy pretexts and US corporations asking Iraqis how they feel about US occupation and how many times did they participate in the Friday prayer. If I was an Iraqi I would be wary of answering questions; and not because the Iraqis are stupid or passive, but because they are intelligent and wary of the motives and operations of the US.

But since not everyone is receptive to that argument (as always, very few people are really willing to try and understand another people, and, for those of us that have lived in the US all or most of our lives it is very difficult to even come close to understanding foreign ways of life) I have a new analogy. Imagine what people would say both *today* and *then* if similar polls had been conducted during the Vietnam war showing the support of the Vietnamese people for the US invasion and occupation of Vietnam.

Imagine, if you would how we would criticize those studies saying, "Well, of course, the Vietnamese gave their support, we were going into their villages and killing people pretty much indiscriminately. If I was Vietnamese I would have professed my love for the US too, if only to avoid being killed."

Other issues (confounding variables, as it were) are: How these polls were conducted? Where did they get the list of names? What was the question asking procedure? Were the interviewers Iraqi or American? What was the introduction? What was the debriefing? What were the Iraq's told about who was conducting the research and why? What was the response rate and were there and confounding variables associated with non-responses?

As for the questions themselves, well, I think most people can see the glaring flaws in them. It's sad that the people writing these questions probably did actually have to take a research methods class in college. It doesn't appear they retained any of that knowledge though (assuming it was conveyed properly in the first place). But, what is the most obvious from these questions is that they were written specifically to pull responses into areas that would be considered supportive of the US occupation. They mention British and US forces but never give any question regarding the UN or an international effort. They give intentionally false or unrelated choices like whether it should be an "Islamic government" or one that lets "everyone practice their own religion". Or the questions are so poorly written as to offer no real insight such as the first 2 about how Iraq or the interviewee will be better or worse in five years, which is so open to interpretation as to make it meaningless.

I'm not advocating that people ignore or dismiss this poll as some may assume, sometimes a lot can be learned from bad, biased research. But people should recognize this is written with an agenda and written exceptionally poorly so as hardly to bear only a passing resemblance to valid research.

hmmm, how did I miss that 24.Sep.2003 12:40

someone

I read the first paragraph but somehow overlooked the second (emphasis mine):

Zogby International conducted interviews of 600 adults chosen at random with consideration for ethnic background, gender, religion and social class, throughout locations in Iraq. Interviews were conducted August 3-19, 2003 in Basra, Karkouk, Mousel and Al Ramadi.

The following ethnic groups - Arabs, Kurds, Turkaman, and Assyrians - were interviewed, as well as the following religious groups - Shiaa, Sunni and Christians. Interviewers traveled to public places (shopping areas and coffee shops) chosen from different social neighborhoods. The survey's margin of sampling error is +/- 4.1%.

Shopping areas and coffee shops? Talk about sampling bias. Does this mean they just went into these places and just picked people to question? What a joke...



It is not like Starbucks over there! 24.Sep.2003 13:12

mangx

Coffee shops are social areas where people gather. Before you shoot the whole poll down because they talked to people where people hangout, at least come up with a better suggestion?

The singular point to the article is that the Iraq people think things will be much better in a short while. Iraqis don't know what kind of government they what yet, but they sure know what government they don't want.

This is encouraging to see, since it means the U.S. will be out of Iraq sooner rather than later. For every one that wants the U.S. to get out of Iraq This is GOOD NEWS you should be excited about this!

Quit being so negative. It is always good to look on the bright side every once and a while!

Sorry someone -- I respect you, but you're seriously diluted 24.Sep.2003 13:51

James

"But people should recognize this is written with an agenda and written exceptionally poorly so as hardly to bear only a passing resemblance to valid research."

That's an extraordinary statement to make. If anything, Zogby has a leftist agenda to push. Zogby has been polling the Arab world for nearly two decades, while most others were not. John Zogby heads Zogby International. His brother, James Zogby, is the president of the Arab American Institute. He founded the Palestine Human Rights Campaign. He co-founded Save Lebanon, and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. He also presently works for Human Rights Watch.

James Zogby also does polling work with Zogby International.

Your implication is that Zogby International is some lapdog of the AEI, which is just horribly wrong. Zogby's polling has been consistently reliable and unimpeachable. I certainly trust Zogby more than any of the other big names, like Gallup. If you want to know the direction popular opinion is heading, watch the leading edge of Zogby's polling trends -- you'll see it there first.

This is not a biased sample. They weighted for gender, race, religion, and class. And they chose people at random. What more could you possibly want, someone? Are you really trying to tell me that's less effective than the cold-calling random number dialing polls done by Gallup and others in the USA?

You have to really stretch belief to say these questions are flawed, or leading. Again -- are the Iraqis abnormally stupid? If you think these questions are leading, and that leading changed the results of this poll, I don't see how you could hold any other belief.

I'd like to see which questions, exactly, you think are leading, and why. I've looked at all of them, and a few are leading, but not enough that I think it would seriously alter the responses.

As for the Us/British troops question, I think it's fair to believe the entirety (or majority, anyway) of respondents who chose < six months would have chosen immediately given the choice.

But other than that, this poll is extremely interesting, and fair.

suggestions 24.Sep.2003 14:04

someone

Sure, my suggestion is that they use legitimate, valid, research methods such as: taking a "random" sample of names from a complete list of people in a given area. That still doesn't avoid many of the problems of this "research" but a random sample is important to external validity. Even if you were to disregard the numerous other flaws I mentioned above, you'd still, at best, be only able to say that these views represented those of Iraqi people who hang out during the day in shopping areas and coffee shops in major cities in Iraq. You simply cannot extrapolate that data and call it representative of "the Iraqi people".

"The singular point to the article is that the Iraq people think things will be much better in a short while."

Well, of the Iraqi's interviewed, which is not representative of "the Iraq people", 70% thought their country would be better in 5 years. But the question that remains is why do they think it will be better, because of the US presence, or because they believe the US will be gone by then. Unsurprisingly the pollers don't ask.

"Iraqis don't know what kind of government they what yet, but they sure know what government they don't want."

That's your belief, unsubstantiated by any facts. I think most Iraqis know what kind of government they want although they do not agree on what kind of government they want. At least that statement could be supported (and would be much less condescending).

"This is encouraging to see, since it means the U.S. will be out of Iraq sooner rather than later."

This administration has no intention of pulling troops out of Iraq, or setting up a new government in Iraq. If you expect the US to pull out anytime soon, you will be very disappointed in the coming years.

magx, I assume you were the one that posted this article since you are so defensive about it. It may be what you want to hear, but the research is deeply and fundamentally flawed that it cannot be taken seriously. The research was done with an agenda, the questions clearly reflect that agenda, and so, unsurprisingly, the results reflect that agenda. Even with better methods, some of the confounding variables in this scenario cannot be escaped. One simply cannot escape the fact that the US is occupying Iraq. This would be referred to as a "history effect" and a threat to the internal validity of the study. The other serious threat to the internal and external validity in this case, but could conceivably be reduced is "selection effect" also known as "sampling bias".

Grabbing on to such reprehensibly poor research just shows how desperate people are for good news about Iraq and justification for the invasion. As I pointed out, think about the scorn and contempt this kind of research would receive today had it been conducted during the Vietnam war. That's what we can expect from these polls (but I prefer to debunk them now rather than wait for others to do so).

Hmm 24.Sep.2003 14:20

James

Now the research is "reprehensibly poor?" Heh. I mean, come on.

As I read over my previous post, it seems to contradict itself, and isn't very clear. Oh well. I'm sure you catch the drift.

But there's a broader point to my original post which I want to touch on briefly again. It's not just this poll which has these results, and these polls aren't the only news coming out of Iraq supporting a continued U.S. presence. (And to be sure -- there's also quite a bit of ugly news coming out of Iraq, to support immediate withdrawal).

My concern is that posters here suffer groupthink, that Indymedia has created its own ad populum self-affirming reality. Hardly any positive news ever filters through to Indymedia, and when it does, it's quickly criticized as biased, untrue, lies, or part of an agenda.

Do you see any truth to that, someone? It sure looks that way to me.

"This administration has no intention of pulling troops out of Iraq, or setting up a new government in Iraq."

I don't think that's true at all. At this point, Bush is incredibly vulnerable politically on Iraq. The country doesn't want 150,000 troops active in the Mideast, and it doesn't want to spend hundreds of billions on it. Bush wants to get the hell out of Dodge as soon as he possibly can. I'm sure this administration will try to setup a puppet government. But I'd be very surprised if we had more than 20,000 troops in Iraq in 1 year.

Someone asumes too much 24.Sep.2003 14:27

mangx

Someone-

James already made if clear that you are closed-minded to anything that disrupts your point of view and that you are not capable of seeing anything out side of your narrow view. I don't think there is any major problems with the Zogby research. You should go buy the Complete Raw Data Set Of the Iraq poll 600 Completes for $599.oo then you would not have to make wild assumptions about the polling data.

 http://www.zogby.com/news/ReadNews.dbm?ID=734

regardless of the quality of polling... 24.Sep.2003 14:54

this thing here

... it still doesn't change a damn thing on the ground. you could conduct the most methodical, most technically perfect poll in the world in iraq, and it would not matter. nor would the percentages it illustrated.

the iraqi's "think" it will get better? NO, the iraqi's are really saying they WANT it to get better, and fast. hell, i "think" it will get darker when the sun goes down...

when will troops come home? 1. the bush admin. has set up an iraqi puppet state exactly according to it's design. 2. has insured that iraqi oil is in the hands of corporations and iraqi's it can trust. 3. if the first two objectives go exactly according to plan, some time before november 5, 2004, as a key boost to bush's presidential campaign. 4. or, way more likely, some time after november 5, 2004, perhaps for political gain in the mid-term elections of 2006. 5. it will become so expensive and costly that the troops will be pulled out and the u.n. sent in. 6. they'll never leave, just like they never left saudi arabia until they hopped over to iraq, as iraq will be the new south korea in the middle east...

as always, those that want to believe, will do so 24.Sep.2003 15:51

someone

"If anything, Zogby has a leftist agenda to push."

A lot of self-proclaimed "leftists" (whatever that means) were for the war. Why should only the "rightists" (whatever that means) be looking for reasons to justify the invasion and occupation.

"Your implication is that Zogby International is some lapdog of the AEI"

I'm implying no such thing.

I'm also not implying that every study that Zogby does is invalid. But this one is, for reasons I've very clearly stated.

"They weighted for gender, race, religion, and class."

Where are you reading that?

"And they chose people at random."

In the casual sense, yes, in the scientific sense, no. If you go to an area and walk around selecting people at "random" you are creating multiple sample biases. One is the time and place in which people are being selected. Others are the biases introduced by the interviewers themselves. They may be thinking they are approaching people "randomly" but maybe, consciously or unconsciously, they are picking people who look the most receptive for questioning. This is why randomization is used to assure validity of the research. With a random list of names (assuming the list is comprehensive) you avoid these errors. Now, using those methods doesn't mean that your study will be valid. The Gallup polls suffer from other problems with selection (that is, who is at home when they call, and who chooses to answer the questions) but they do start with a random sample (usually).

"are the Iraqis abnormally stupid"

Absolutely not, and I'd recommend dropping this straw man; among other things, it's a non-sequitur. The Iraqis are as intelligent as people anywhere but when faced with 2 options in a question: "have the US and UK troops stay vs have the US and UK troops withdraw" rejects the multiple of beliefs that a person may hold. In this case, like US elections, we are asking them for what may amount to the lesser of two evils, which may not be at all what they want. What if they want an international coalition? What if they want to have their own government but with UK and US troops among other supporting it? What about the dozens of other beliefs they may hold which are not properly reflected by these questions?

"I'd like to see which questions, exactly, you think are leading, and why."

I could rewrite this whole survey, but what would be the point? To do it well would take a serious chunk of time and thought and I doubt it would convince any of the people who are already enamored with it to change their minds. In other words, I don't see it as being a worthwhile way to spend my time. Maybe I'll change my mind but we'll see.

"these polls aren't the only news coming out of Iraq supporting a continued U.S. presence"

If you want to provide sources I'd be happy to critique those polls as well. But again, I'm not saying that the majority of people in Iraq aren't supporting a continued US presence. I'm pointing out that that there hasn't been any respectable, valid research supporting that claim. You can feel free to keep believing what you want but if you keep pointing to polls in support of your claims I'm going to question the validity of your evidence.

"My concern is that posters here suffer groupthink"

Well, there you are creating your own assumptions. Haven't you realized that posters here come from wide-ranging points of view and beliefs? The fact that many people here might be suspicious of polls of an occupied people supporting the military presence of their occupiers is evidence that people are a little more aware of history and the realities of the use of propaganda. That's not to say your concerns aren't valid; individuals should always be questioning their beliefs but such broad assumptions don't seem particularly productive to me.

"Hardly any positive news ever filters through to Indymedia"

This is true, and many people make this claim, but many people do not see what is happening in Iraq as positive. Likewise, if people want to be educated about what is happening in this country, and around the world, there is a lot of news that is not positive for those who believe in ideals like freedom, truth, and sustainability. But the news is what we make of it. If more of us go and do positive things and then we report on it, we will have positive news. It's that simple.

I think too many people are falling victim to the "Bush haters" rhetoric: that people are just consumed with hate and react emotionally rather than intellectually. Can people be reactionary at times, of course, but does that make them wrong? One must always be ready to concede that one is wrong if the facts are changed, but often times they are not. Still, like any community there are all kinds of people with a multitude of thoughts and opinions that read and post here. Afterall, if people attack something as being biased, that is in fact biased, that is hardly a criticism.

"I'd be very surprised if we had more than 20,000 troops in Iraq in 1 year"

Well, I like the bold claim; we'll see how that one turns out.

mangx: James can speak for himself and you can too. If you want to point out how I am being close-minded or what my assumptions are please do so, but otherwise your accusations are hollow. I have no desire to buy the raw data of a flawed study. What I will ask for is the survey and questioning procedures. They should be able to give that to me for free, and if not, well, there will be some fairly simple conclusions to be drawn. A question for you out of curiosity, why are you so defensive about this article? Would it hurt you so much to accept that this research is deeply flawed?

amen.... 24.Sep.2003 19:04

holy-yet-still-likely-to-be-censored guy

>Indymedia has created its own ad populum self-affirming reality.

yep.... except it's not reality.

'holy-yet-still-likely-to-be-censored guy'-- 24.Sep.2003 22:40

and everyone else--

ask these Iraqis what they think


oh my god 25.Sep.2003 13:08

holy-uncensored guy

i wasn't censored!

it's a miracle!