Chieftain editorial downplayed Americans' disapproval of Iraq war

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

In criticizing the U.S. House of Representatives' nonbinding resolution against increasing troop levels in Iraq, an editorial in The Pueblo Chieftain downplayed opposition by claiming that "a number of Americans have grown tired of the war." However, several recent polls indicate widespread opposition to the war and President Bush's troop "surge."

A February 20 editorial in The Pueblo Chieftain critical of the U.S. House of Representatives' nonbinding resolution against President Bush's plan to increase troop levels in Iraq understated opposition to the conflict by claiming that "a number of Americans have grown tired of the war." In fact, widely reported public opinion polls show that a majority of Americans oppose the planned troop increase and believe the war is "hopeless" or was "a mistake."

The House resolution, which the Chieftain characterized as a "shameful document" and "political grandstanding," passed the House on February 16. According to the Chieftain, passage of the resolution "did nothing but hurt troop morale while giving the insurgents hope that they can and will prevail." The Chieftain further stated, "[W]ith television and much of the press stressing American losses while virtually ignoring all of the good that our brave troops are accomplishing in that key Middle Eastern country, a number of Americans have grown tired of the war."

However, in addition to finding that at least 60 percent of the American public opposes Bush's decision to escalate troop levels in Iraq, recent public opinion polls indicate a majority of the American public thinks that invading Iraq was "a mistake" or the "[w]rong decision" and that the war is "not going well" or is going "badly":

  • A USA Today/Gallup poll conducted February 9-11 found that 60 percent of Americans oppose President Bush's proposal to "increase the number of U.S. troops in Iraq," 51 percent favor "Congress passing a non-binding resolution to express its disapproval of Bush's plan to send more U.S. troops to Iraq," and 56 percent "think the United States made a mistake in sending troops to Iraq." The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
  • According to an Associated Press/Ipsos poll conducted February 12-15, 63 percent of Americans "oppose sending more troops to Iraq," 56 percent think the war is "a hopeless cause," and 64 percent think that increasing American troops in Iraq would not "help stabilize the situation there." The poll's margin of error was plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
  • A CBS News poll conducted February 8-11 found that 63 percent of Americans "disapprove of President Bush's plan to send more than 20,000 additional U.S. troops to Iraq" and that 72 percent say the war in Iraq is going "badly." Furthermore, the CBS poll concluded, "Just one in 10 think the situation in Iraq is getting any better. Half think the situation is deteriorating, and another four in 10 think it is staying the same." The poll's margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.
  • The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press survey, conducted February 7-11, reported that 54 percent of the American public think that going to war in Iraq was the "[w]rong decision," 67 percent "say things are not going well with the U.S. military effort in Iraq," and 63 percent "oppose[s] the 'troop surge' plan." The poll's margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.

From the editorial "A shameful document" in the February 20 edition of The Pueblo Chieftain:

It was a bad week in Washington, D.C., last week. The House of Representatives passed a nonbinding resolution that purports to support our troops in Iraq while it disapproves of the plan to increase troop levels to carry out their mission there.

The Senate voted on the resolution the next day, but that effort fell four votes short of the 60 needed to advance it.

It's a ploy to have your cake and eat it, too.

[...]

Many of those voting in favor of this resolution were among the critics who faulted President Bush and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for not having enough troops in Iraq to pacify that country. But with television and much of the press stressing American losses while virtually ignoring all of the good that our brave troops are accomplishing in that key Middle Eastern country, a number of Americans have grown tired of the war.

But last week's political grandstanding did nothing but hurt troop morale while giving the insurgents hope that they can and will prevail.

We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.