In his recent op-ed column, one argument Max Boot made is that we should stay in Iraq out of deference to the Iraqi people’s wishes: “An early American departure is the last thing that most Iraqis or their elected representatives want. (In a recent ABC/BBC poll only 38 percent of Iraqis said that coalition forces should leave at once.)”
This is a pretty selective reading of the poll’s results. It’s true that only 38 percent said that coalition forces should leave at once. It’s also true that only 36 percent of Iraqis say that the surge of forces has improved security in areas where the surge forces have been sent (53 percent say they’ve made things worse), only 30 percent percent say the surge has made things better in the non-surge areas (49 percent say they’ve made things worse), and that only four percent say that they have “a great deal of confidence” in American troops. Sixteen percent say they have “quite a lot” of confidence, 33 percent have “not very much” confidence and 46 percent have “no confidence” in our soldiers.
41 percent of Iraqis say they “strongly oppose” the presence of Coalition forces in Iraq and 31 percent “somewhat oppose” their presence. And yet, despite all this, John McCain thinks we can stay there peacefully for 100 or 10,000 years and Max Boot wants us to believe that Iraqis are eager for us to stay the course. But there’s just no evidence of it. Iraqis are, naturally, concerned about the consequences of an American departure. But we also decisively lost the confidence and support of the Iraqi population years ago. Under the circumstances, it’s nearly impossible for us to play a constructive role.