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In a Poll, Baghdad Residents Call Freedom Worth the Price

Posted on 09/25/2003 4:53:34 AM PDT by dennisw

Poll finds optimism in Baghdad Patrick E. Tyler/NYT NYT Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Two-thirds expect better life in 5 years

BAGHDAD After five months of foreign military occupation and the removal of Saddam Hussein, nearly two-thirds of Baghdad residents say the removal of the Iraqi dictator has been worth the hardships they have been forced to endure, a new Gallup poll shows.

Despite the systemic collapse of government and civic institutions, a crime wave of looting and violence and shortages of water and electricity, 67 percent of 1,178 Iraqis told a Gallup survey team that within five years, their lives will be better than before the U.S.-led invasion.

Only eight percent of those queried said they believed their lives would be worse off as a result of the military campaign to remove Saddam and his Baath Party leadership.

The survey, which was conducted in late August and early September, cut across the ethnically diverse landscape of the capital. The results revealed that Iraqis in the capital still maintain a great deal of skepticism about the motives of the United States and Britain, and residents said they hold France and its president, Jacques Chirac, in higher regard than President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain.

Chirac's rating was 42 percent favorable to Bush's 29 percent and Blair's 20 percent.

The poll results also showed that Baghdad residents were nearly evenly divided on whether the occupation authority headed by L. Paul Bremer 3rd was doing a good job, with 28 percent giving it a positive rating and 25 percent saying it is doing a poor job, on a five-point rating scale.

But half of the respondents said that the occupation authority was doing a better job now than it was two months ago, and their view of Bremer himself was remarkably positive, with 47 percent holding a favorable view of him compared to 22 percent who held an unfavorable view.

On possible explanation for the improving view of the occupation authority was its decision in July to turn over significant powers to a 25-member Governing Council of Iraqis, the Gallup findings suggested.

While 75 percent of those polled said that the council's actions were "mostly determined by the coalition's own authorities," the interim government's performance received a favorable rating from 40 percent. Thirteen percent said it was performing poorly.

Several members of the Governing Council told Arab and Western news organizations on Monday that the staffs of the two networks would be expelled from Iraq for a month, but that decision appeared to have been modified in the last 24 hours.

When the text of the decree was issued on Tuesday, the council accused the Arab networks of promoting the return of the Baath Party in Iraq, promoting sectarian violence between Sunni and Shiite Muslims and inciting attacks on the government and its members. Spokesmen for the Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya denied the allegations, saying their correspondents in Iraq sought to air the views of all Iraqis during a time of national crisis.

An informal sampling of Iraqis on the streets of Baghdad found more inclined to support the government's crackdown on the Arab channels, reflecting a popular view here that the Arab leaders supported Saddam Hussein's repressive regime for too long and failed to support his removal despite evidence of widespread human rights abuses. But some Iraqis defended the Arab networks, as Al Sahib, 33, did when he said that expelling or restricting their coverage "will give them a pretext to bark more and to cry with other Arab countries about there be no freedom of press in Iraq."

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Front Page News
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To: Arkie2
Me too. Too bad the Air Force in its infinite wisdom has decided to ground the A-10 fleet. The Army is very unhappy with that decision.

So is this ol' Jarhead.

21 posted on 09/25/2003 7:00:12 AM PDT by Coop (God bless our troops!)
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To: tbpiper
I agree. Spent 20 years in the Air Force and this decision really pi$$es me off. The Air Force says the F-16 will provide ground support in the future. It's a good plane but it can't root around in the dirt like the Hog.
22 posted on 09/25/2003 7:40:05 AM PDT by Arkie2
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To: avg_freeper
I have a feeling that the Ivory Coast would have a different rating of the French though.

As will the Iraqis once they get their "own" free and independent media going. Remember, most still only have access to Arab newspapers and TV and France has been on a kissing-ass tour to all the Arab countries for more than a year.

France under Jacques ChIRAQ is evil and duplicitous. Some don't believe it but they only have one foreign policy . . . the opposite view of ours.

The Iraqis know evil better than any other people. They've had 30+ years of it. It might take awhile but when they see that it was France that caused them to be enslaved under Saddam's thumb for far too many years, the worm will turn.

23 posted on 09/25/2003 7:54:03 AM PDT by geedee (Would the boy you were be proud of the man you are?)
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To: geedee
24 posted on 09/25/2003 8:48:07 AM PDT by Coop (God bless our troops!)
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To: Coop
Double Bump.
25 posted on 09/25/2003 10:44:01 AM PDT by Conservomax
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