Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Wisdom of the Crowds: Iraqi special

Two surveys of what Iraqis think, here and here.

Some responded with cherry-picking of answers which fit with their personal views, others denounced the surveys as imperialist forgeries because they didn't fit with the Stop the War Campaign's line. What I found interesting was the results which contradicted the Conventional Wisdom here in the West, both pro- and anti-war.

So, for example, Iraqis have a relatively high opinion of their government (48% approval, higher than Britain or the USA), by 38%-28% think that British withdrawal from Basra made the situation worse, and report the top two problems in their lives are unemployment and lack of electricity. More think that life for their children will be better than their own lives (let's hope so), and opinions of the local militias is only slightly better than that of the Americans (22% to 20%). Only 38% want Coalition troops to leave now, and only 33% think that President Bush leaving office will make the situation in Iraq better (27% think it will make it worse). 64% would rather stay in Iraq than move to another country.

And at the same time, 53% Iraqis think that the much lauded 'surge' has made the security situation worse, 61% think the presence of US troops is making the security situation worse, 42% think that attacks on coalition forces is acceptable, 69% think that former Ba'athists should be allowed to take government jobs and opinion is evenly divided about whether the invasion was a good idea. 72% oppose the presence of coalition forces in Iraq, more think that relations between Arabs and Kurds are getting worse than think it is getting better, and 41% report unnecessary violence by coalition or US forces having taken place in their area. And, of course, these figures vary significantly from region to region and between Kurds, Sunni and Shia.

Instead of polemics about 'Troops Out Now' vs 'The Surge is Working', could anyone point me to the fierce debates about 'How to improve the electricity supply' and 'How to reduce unemployment [1]'?

It being five years since the invasion of Iraq, there have been a number of retrospectives. I am spared any reason to write one of my own, as everything that I might have said is covered in the article titled 'What I Thought When That Iraq War Invasion Thing Was Being Planned, And How I Decided Not To Support It, Because It Was A Stupid Idea, And That'.

[1] Being thankful for small mercies, at least Caroline Flint isn't involved in advising the Iraqi government.


At 5:50 pm , Blogger Harry Barnes said...

For two posts giving the pros and cons, see these two items from the same person - a Dentist in Baghdad. One is thesis the other the anti-thesis. It is for each of us to work upon our own synthesis.

At 5:04 am , Blogger will said...


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