Will the McCain Nomination Kill More Iraqis and Americans?
Last September 10, as David Petraeus was giving Congress a rosy evaluation of the situation in Iraq, a poll of Iraqi public opinion was released that belied Petraeus’ reporting. The poll received little attention amid the media’s love-fest for David Petraeus. But the findings of the poll should send shivers down the spine of anyone concerned with the lives of Iraqis and American in Iraq.
The poll (conducted in August 2007) found increasing resistance to the occupation, especially when compared to Iraqi public opinion polling from five months earlier (March 2007). Among the poll's findings:
63% overall felt that the “invasion was wrong” (up 11%)
47% overall advocated immediate withdrawal (“coalition forces should leave now”) (up 12%)
79% overall “oppose the presence of coalition forces” (up 1%)
57% overall agreed that “attacks on coalition forces” are acceptable (up 6%)
And while these numbers have always been high within the Sunni community, the Shiite majority is growing increasingly impatient with the occupation.
51% of Shiites felt that the “invasion was wrong” (up 21%)
44% of Shiites advocated immediate withdrawal (“coalition forces should leave now”) (up 16%)
84% of Shiites “oppose the presence of coalition forces” (up 1%)
50% of Shiites agreed that “attacks on coalition forces” are acceptable (up 15%)
There can be little doubt that the patience of the Iraqi people, especially the Shiite majority, is wearing thin – and that the biggest reason for the reduction in US casualties in Iraq is the willingness of Shiites to stand down to give the surge time to work.
There is also little doubt that the Shiite leadership is watching the US elections to determine whether the US will withdrawal its troops under a new President. Thus the nomination of John McCain, who shows no willingness to withdraw troops, and has a stated commitment to a permanent US presence in Iraq (a position supported by less than 1% of Iraqis overall – and only 2% of Kurds), is likely to result in more attacks on US troops, and more casualties for both Americans and Iraqis. Indeed, its highly likely that McCain remains ahead in general election polling, that violence against US forces will increase even more the closer we get to the election – and that a McCain general election victory would result in an all-out war against the occupation, a Sunni-Shiite civil war that will devolve into a regional conflict, and a “failed state” in Iraq.