A new Gallup poll shows that only 29 percent of Americans believe the Iraq escalation is making the situation better. Another 43 percent say the escalation is “not making much difference,” and 22 percent say it is making conditions in Iraq worse.
In addition, fully 80 percent of Americans “endorse a requirement that U.S. troops meet strict readiness criteria before being deployed to Iraq,” while 60 percent “favor a timetable for withdrawing all U.S. troops from Iraq by fall 2008.”
Americans are right. A senior Bush administration official acknowledged recently to the Washington Post that “right now there is no trend” showing the escalation is working. While sectarian attacks in Baghdad are down, “deaths of Iraqi civilians and U.S. troops have increased outside the capital”:
If violence is down in Baghdad, analysts said, it is likely because the Shiite militias operating there are waiting out the buildup in U.S. troops, nearly all of whom are being deployed in the capital. At the same time, Sunni insurgents have escalated their operations elsewhere.
President Bush nevertheless insisted today that “the Iraqi people are beginning to see positive changes.” He cited “two Iraqi bloggers.”