On the third anniversary of President Bush’s declaration of the end of major combat operations underneath a “mission accomplished” banner, a new poll of Iraqis conducted in late March 2006 for the International Republican Institute offers grim reminders of the troubles regular Iraqis continue to face.
– Less secure. The vast majority of Iraqis – 76 percent – rate their security situation as “poor.” More than half of all Iraqis (55 percent) say the security situation has gotten worse in the last three months, a 26-point increase since last fall.
– More divided. Six in 10 (62 percent) of Iraqis say that the country is more divided than in the past.
– Facing economic freefall. Fully three quarters of Iraqis (76 percent) say that wages have gotten worse in the last three months, a stunning 58-point increase since last fall.
– More corrupt. Nearly seven in 10 Iraqis (68 percent) say that corruption has gotten worse in the last three months, a 19-point increase since last fall.
When asked whom they trusted the most to protect their personal safety, a plurality said the Iraqi police (43 percent), followed by the Iraqi army (35 percent). Hardly anyone — one percent — picked the multinational forces.
The time has come for the United States to take control of its interests and change the course in Iraq, as proposed in the Strategic Redeployment plan offered by the Center for American Progress.
– Brian Katulis