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Iraqi Hearts and Minds (Ivo Daalder & Karl Zinsmeister)
Think Tank with Ben Wattenberg (PBS) ^ | 9 October 2003 | Ivo Daalder & Karl Zinsmeister w/ Ben Wattenberg

Posted on 11/02/2003 12:44:10 PM PST by Stultis

Ivo Daalder
    Senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, member of the National Security Council during the Clinton Administration, and co-author of "America Unbound: The Bush Revolution in Foreign Policy"
  Karl Zinsmeister
    Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, editor-in-chief of The American Enterprise magazine and author of "Boots on the Ground: A Month with the 82nd Airborne in the Battle for Iraq."

Iraqi Hearts and Minds

TTBW 1128 PBS feed 10/9/2003
“Iraqi Hearts and Minds”

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(opening animation)

Ben Wattenberg: Hello, I’m Ben Wattenberg. Leading up to and following the war in Iraq, a crucial view has been missing from the debate over the future of this pivotal nation: the opinions of actual Iraqis. Now, new polls conducted by Zogby and Gallup International are among the first efforts to get a reading of Iraqi hearts and minds. The results reveal mostly optimism about the future of their nation, but mixed views on the best road to take from here. What do Iraqis think about democracy? About the occupation? About the Interim Council? About the cost of war? And what does it mean for U.S. policy in Iraq?

To find out, Think Tank is joined by Ivo Daalder, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, member of the National Security Council during the Clinton Administration, and co-author of America Unbound: The Bush Revolution in Foreign Policy, and Karl Zinsmeister, Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, editor-in-chief of The American Enterprise magazine and author of Boots on the Ground: A Month with the 82nd Airborne in the Battle for Iraq.

The topic before the House: 'Iraqi Hearts and Minds.' This week on Think Tank.

(opening animation)

BEN WATTENBERG: Karl Zinsmeister, Ivo Daalder, welcome to Think Tank-- again, in both of your cases. Karl, the magazine you lead at the American Enterprise just concluded a public opinion poll that you commissioned from Zogby International. Give us just briefly a little bit of the technology of how you go about polling in a country like Iraq.

KARL ZINSMEISTER: Our field workers got caught in cross-fires and were detained overnight several times and really had some difficulties, but we managed to pull it off. The thing I was most concerned about, Ben, was to make sure that our results were accurate and fair and unbiased. So I spent a lot of time, for instance, talking to pollsters from Eastern Europe who had gone in right after the Berlin wall fell and I asked these Poles and Germans, you know, how do you get people who have not been in the habit of being frank in public, for whom it was dangerous to be frank, to open up and so we used a lot of little techniques. You don’t go to their homes, you do it in a public place. You don’t ask a very personal question, you put it in a kind of a third person voice. And I worked very hard in the translations as well. Again this can be [unintelligible] poll. You know, for instance the word at the beginning: there was a confidentiality statement that your results will be kept private. And the Arabic word for this turned out to have a connotation of 'secret', which is of course the kiss of death. If people think this is a cabal they won’t tell you anything. So we had to really go to some lengths to make sure we got accurate results, and I feel like we did reasonably well.

BEN WATTENBERG: And your poll included all the main districts in Iraq, except Baghdad.

KARLZINSMEISTER: Baghdad was too hot when we wanted to go so we...

BEN WATTENBERG: And the Gallup poll that came out did just Baghdad, is that right?

KARL ZINSMEISTER: Just Baghdad. Yes.

BEN WATTENBERG: Was there some… were the poll results roughly similar?

KARL ZINSMEISTER: This is the striking thing. There were also two other polls that were more kind of street-type polls – less scientific, but also interesting. One done by the Brits and one done by an Iraqi academic. Both – those both were also Baghdad and the fascinating thing to me, Ben,that is very encouraging is that the results are very complementary. There were some questions that in fact occurred in all four instances--how long the troops should stay, whether life will be better in five years--and the results were extremely congruent with each other, which gave me some confidence that in our different methods and our different regions and our different techniques we came [crosstalk]...

BEN WATTENBERG: All right. Give me some examples of what the polls said and Ivo, feel free to jump in if you have an opinion and then we’re going to get to your problem with what’s going on in Iraq, which is a big problem.

KARL ZINSMEISTER: I think--let me boil it down, Ben--that what made most sense to me was that three of the nightmare scenarios, if you will, of what could happen in Iraq that we’ve all been hearing about. One is it becomes Iran. It becomes a theocracy. Two is it becomes an Al-Qa’eda stronghold. And three is that it could become – Ba’athists could have a revival and they could – Saddam sort of – if not Saddam himself, Saddam’s policies could come back. So we asked questions that were intended to sort of uh, test those three scenarios and the good news is I don’t think any of those three are likely. The Ba’athists are extremely unpopular, extraordinarily unpopular, the Osama bin Laden – he’s also quite unpopular. Fifty-seven percent of the people we asked have an unfavorable opinion in Iraq.

BEN WATTENBERG: Does that mean that forty three percent think he’s a swell fella?

KARL ZINSMEISTER: It’s a classic half-empty/half-full glass. And actually a New York Times reporter asked me that. He said...

BEN WATTENBERG: That’s a lot of people going around saying Osama bin Laden’s a good guy, I mean…

KARL ZINSMEISTER: Well, you know, I’ll tell you what I told this reporter who said 'that sounds awful to me'. I said, 'Have you seen the numbers for Saudi Arabia? For Jordan?' For Western Europe for heaven sakes? Even our friends and allies have more support for bin Laden than you might expect. And I think what’s going on there is not really admiration for bin Laden. It’s just that he’s the Robin Hood figure. He’s the guy who stuck a needle in Uncle Sam’s eye and if you’re disaffected that’s where you go. But those two scenarios seem unlikely and then the third, sort of, nightmare scenario would be that you would get this theocracy. And it’s quite striking actually, Ben. Iraq is a much more secular country than people realize. Forty-two percent of the people we asked had not been to mosque at all in the previous month, so the idea that this is going to become a mullah-driven country, like Iran, I think is quite unlikely. And in fact interestingly, the Shi’ia, who are of course the co-religionists with the Iranians, were even less attracted to a religious government than the rest of the population, so...

BEN WATTENBERG: I went through the poll, and it was the younger people and the more educated people who were most optimistic, and who were most fierce in their resistance to any kind of a theocracy. Is that right?

KARL ZINSMEISTER: That’s right. And we made a point at… One of our four polling stations was right in the heart of the Sunni triangle, a place where there’s been tremendous resistance, and it was quite striking for me. A lot of the national balance between the pro and anti-U.S. feeling - the pro and antidemocratic feeling – disappears when you look at those regional breaks. In the rest of the country, outside of that Sunni triangle, people are actually quite sympathetic to democracy, quite sympathetic to the U.S., quite sympathetic to a modernizing platform. Where the resistance is really concentrated is in that Sunni triangle.

BEN WATTENBERG: And that’s Baghdad?

KARL ZINSMEISTER: In the greater Baghdad area.

BEN WATTENBERG: And those are people who are saying democracy isn’t for us.

KARL ZINSMEISTER: And those are the folks who’s ox is being gored. They were the ones who had the privileged position under Saddam and are really kicking and screaming now.

BEN WATTENBERG: Ivo, does this stuff sort of add up with what you’ve been hearing?

IVO DAALDER: I think so. I mean there is clearly, and particularly in the outlying areas, not in Baghdad and particularly the Sunni triangle, out of it there clearly is a view that we’re better off without Saddam than with him, which is an important data point. It is, in fact one of the reasons why we’re there.

BEN WATTENBERG: I don’t want to sound like a shill for the administration, but there are a lot of stories coming out of Iraq now. I’m not talking about Rumsfeld or anything like that, but journalists who spent a couple a months there two or three months ago and coming back now saying, 'You know, things really have changed. They really are better. There are still a lot of problems, but that there really does seem to be some progress on the ground.” You would buy that?

IVO DAALDER: I’d buy that. I mean it clearly is. For example, the Gallup Poll asked, compared to two months ago, do you think things are moving in the right direction and the answer generally is 'yes.' There’s one part of all the poll that is deeply worrisome. It is, in fact, one of the things that worries me most. The view of the United States is not very popular. The United States’ favorability rating – the British favorability rating – is extraordinarily low.

BEN WATTENBERG: But that’s true all over the world. There was just a report that came out...

IVO DAALDER: That’s right.

BEN WATTENBERG: ...and I mean Americans….there’s this big anti-American feeling sort of rolling through Europe and with the whole Iraqi invasion, in South America and in Asia, people were just felt they were being Americanized against their will.

IVO DAALDER: There’s one difference here.


IVO DAALDER: We have a hundred and fifty thousand troops there and they have six hundred and fifty thousand tons of ammunition that is available to use against our troops. And one of the problems that we’re having, that Mr. Bremer is pointing out, the head of the civilian authority that our …


IVO DAALDER: An American, L. Paul Bremer – Jerry Bremer. General Sanchez who’s the head of the ground forces in Iraq. There’s a growing sense that there is a resentment among Iraqis of the occupation and that we’re starting to lose the consent of the Iraqi people towards our continued presence in there. The British in particular--it’s not happening yet in Basra, alhough even there they’re worried about it--the British are saying we have a month or two months to turn this thing around.

BEN WATTENBERG: But, in a sense, there’s a good news aspect to that – to them saying, 'We can do it alone. Okay, thanks for getting rid of Saddam. Outta here.' I mean, there is that aspect to that. That would be great from our point of view if they really – if they could put it together.

IVO DAALDER: It would be great if they could put it together and there is a lot of uncertainty about how are you going to organize yourself politically. The one thing I think in the poll that Zogby did that was most worrisome for the Iraqis was not their economic condition over the next five years, but how they were going to manage politically; how they were going to put together a society and a political system ...

BEN WATTENBERG: They all said the politics were the biggest problem and not the economic ...

IVO DAALDER: That’s right.

BEN WATTENBERG: I mean, there was one story out recently that there are what, a hundred and fifty news publications coming out.

KARL ZINSMEISTER: Hundred seventy, I think.

BEN WATTENBERG: A hundred and seventy regularly published news publications I mean, of every conceivable viewpoint which compared to Saddam’s day is – I mean it – there is some...

KARL ZINSMEISTER: One of the members of the provisional government is a communist and there’s a real range of views there. And there’s other good news, too, Ben. I was quite struck, I must say, by the reaction of the Shiites to the killing of one of their major leaders in front of their holiest shrines in this horrible bombing of last month, about a hundred and fifty people died. You know that could have really been the spark to a conflagration, and they showed a very mature and very, kind of, reasoned response. They’re willing to let the gears of the investigation grind and not take an immediate, sort of, reprisal. So I actually think there’s more hope here than people might guess. You know, I think part of the problem is the portrayals. And the Shiia – let’s stick with the Shia for a second – I was quite struck when I came back from the desert, and I was in this combat environment, a lot of things to adjust to, but just days from when I came back the Shiite pilgrimage took place. Everyone will remember this the Najaf pilgrimage, a million Shiites. And all over the front pages of the papers and on the broadcast shows were these five or six fanatics at the front of the pilgrimage who had cut themselves with swords – remember this very bloody, dramatic imagery?


KARL ZINSMEISTER: And that was what was projected to the public as typical of Shiia opinion. In fact, the Shiia were, as you know, very estranged from Saddam and are more pro-American and more pro-democracy today than the rest of the population. So I think we got a very inverted view there that was based on this kind of bad news portrayal that you were talking about earlier.

BEN WATTENBERG: Ivo, you got a big problem with American policy. Why don’t you sketch it out for me?

IVO DAALDER: I have two fundamental problems. One we already started to talk about. There’s a growing sense inside Iraq of a resentment towards the occupation, and as long as we are controlling everything inside Baghdad, the future of the government, the security situation, there will continue to be a growing sense that the Iraqi population will turn against us. And that and the possibility – not there yet, but the possibility--of opposition, popular opposition, to the occupation turning into a military uprising exists. We need to head it off as soon as we can.

BEN WATTENBERG: Military operation by Iraqis against Americans.

IVO DAALDER: Increasingly that there more and more Iraqis will become part of what we are seeing in this day-to-day ambushing, insurgency. There won’t be – this is not going to be a conventional war, there isn’t that capability. But if the popular support for what is happening...

BEN WATTENBERG: And the direction being that America under such circumstances would, as we used to say in Vietnam, that we’d have to leave with our tail between our legs, or we’d be a pitiful helpless giant and all that kind of stuff...

IVO DAALDER: Not necessarily. I mean I don’t think we will necessarily, but our forces are not structured, they’re not trained to deal with this kind of environment. One of the problems we’re seeing is that more Iraqis are being killed, in part because we are trying to defend ourselves, rightly so as we should.

BEN WATTENBERG: Aren’t we training Iraqi MPs and stuff like that?

IVO DAALDER: Yeah, we’re training them and slowly but surely we will get more and more of them. But we don’t have enough. We need many, many more as soon we can. We need a great – we have four big security problems. We have a bunch of terrorists and a bunch of 'dead-enders' as Don Rumsfeld calls them – the old regime – that are trying to kill as many Americans as they can. Only we can really pursue those with the intelligence that local Iraqis are providing. We need to guard the borders in order to make sure that the jihadists that are streaming or trying to stream into Iraq can’t get in. We have infrastructure that is unprotected, that is being bombed or sabotaged for copper out of electrical wire and most importantly we need to provide security for the average Iraq so he can go to work, he doesn’t have to worry about his daughter being kidnapped or whatever. That is a major problem that we haven’t taken care of yet and we need help in order to do that. To have more Americans - which is one possibility, do it – would only perpetuate the cycle...

BEN WATTENBERG: Make the shooting gallery larger.

IVO DAALDER: Not only the shooting gallery larger but also the incentive to shoot larger. Whereas if you can try to get more international participation and more Iraqis as well. We need more Iraqis; we need more...

BEN WATTENBERG: And that requires our dear friends the United Nations. Is that right?

IVO DAALDER: It requires two things. To take away the American face of the occupation, and to basically say we need to do this together with other people. And if possible we need to internationalize the civilian structure, not the military structure, the civilian structure. And secondly it means we need to hand over as much as we can as quickly as we can to the Iraqis themselves. Not in the way the French are suggesting, in which we’re just handing over sovereignty and then have them run it by themselves, but function by function; week by week. Get more and more Iraqis engaged in taking care of their own affairs. Ultimately this is their country and we want to help them to get there as soon as possible. We can’t just hand it over because of all the differences that exist that you find in the opinion polls or various other things, but you can start putting more capability in their hands…

BEN WATTENBERG: The French have now said that they would not veto some U.N. presence, unlike the first time around. Is that correct?

IVO DAALDER: Yes. The French have basically said that this is not important enough for them to veto; they will let any resolution that we want go through. We’re not particularly interested in the U.N. resolution per se. We’re interested in a U.N. resolution that gets us troops, that gets us money and that gets us expertise and capabilities, and if we just have a resolution that goes through but doesn’t get us troops, doesn’t get us money, doesn’t get us the kind of expertise we need, we’re just basically a U.N. resolution further without having done very much about the situation on the ground.

KARL ZINSMEISTER: You know a lot of that is happening though, Ivo. In addition to the one hundred and forty thousand U.S. troops there, there are already twenty-five thousand troops from other countries and there are about sixty thousand now trained Iraqis on the streets in various capacities. That’s a big chunk of outside force. I think the way I would differ with you, Ivo, I would say that where you describe as a growing resentment I would call a residual resentment. I agree the resentment is there, but the reports I get from the soldiers I’m keeping very close contact with are that in fact this resentment is disappearing. It’s gradually going away. You see evidence of this in the Gallup Poll. They asked in the Gallup Poll, is the provisional government doing a better job than it was some time ago? And by large majorities the Iraqis say yes, it is doing better than it used to. So, you have, I think progress in the right direction – lots and lots of indicators of improvement.

BEN WATTENBERG: Karl, you write in your book 'Boots on the Ground - A Month with the 82nd Airborne'. You went over there and lived with the troops and wrote some wonderful things and it’s very salutary to the American troops. Did you also find yourself, sort of, soft on the Iraqi civilians, that they were really good guys, or many of them were?

KARL ZINSMEISTER: I was actually impressed with many of the ones I met. I was in, as I say, the southern part of the country mostly, in the Shiite territory and these folks were very unfriendly to Saddam. And I was also impressed with the quality of the population I met. People forget that Iraq was the center of learning for the Arab world, has lots of universities. There are a lot of very well-educated, intelligent, English-speaking professional people in this country. Lots of competent talent that we can use. And, back to the soldiers, you know, I kept very close touch with those guys and I don’t want to sugarcoat this. I mean the guy on the cover of my book, Ben, very interesting young Army ranger has been bombed twice in the last month. His Humvee was blown up, he was at work the next day. Two weeks later he was blown up again. I’m aware that there are disturbances of this sort going on, but what they tell me is that they are making progress. They’re telling me very exciting things about progress in these local government councils, where two months ago these people didn’t have any of the concept of a vote, and they were intimidated by the big men in the room. And now they’re all, you know, really getting in there and swinging their elbows in a democratic forum at the grassroots level.

BEN WATTENBERG: Ivo, what you’re saying, and what Karl’s saying, and what everyone is saying is sort of – it’s a question of timing. Everybody’s saying we’ve got to get it over to the Iraqis. The question is can we get it over to the Iraqis before the Iraqis go ballistic – wrong metaphor--but is that right? Is it just a timing thing to get the gears to mesh right?

IVO DAALDER: Well, but the gears are twofold. One is, before the resentment builds up to the occupation we need to hand it over. But we also need to build their capacity to, once we hand it over, them having been able to take care of themselves. Give you a good example: the twenty billion we’re supposed to be spending on reconstruction. This is a plan drawn up by Bremer and his very capable people about how to spend that money. We should be asking the Iraqis to figure out how to spend money like this. That’s what we did with the Europeans fifty years ago.

BEN WATTENBERG: How they should spend our money.

IVO DAALDER: And, well, in fact, exactly. And one of the things you want to do is you want to build local Iraqi capacity to take care of themselves. We don’t want to run this country; we don’t want to own it; we don’t want to, frankly, be there if we didn’t have to be there. We want the Iraqis to be able to take care of themselves. So why don’t do what we did with the Marshall Plan, where General Marshall stood up and said, 'We will be willing to give you aid, but only if you figure out how to spend it best, if you figure out how to cooperate together and work together.' We need to start thinking about how do we get and empower the Iraqi’s to do more of this themselves, without doing what the French want to do which should say give it to them, hand it over, you do it, and America go out, because we have a very critical role to play. We cannot allow failure of this experiment to occur.

KARL ZINSMEISTER: But Ivo, you can’t have it both ways. I mean the Germans went four years before they held their first election. General McArthur took more like six years to get a government set up and an economy functioning in Japan, and those were considered wonderful successes. I think if we’re going to do some of these things we have to have some patience. So I would like to hear people either saying a little more patience is called for or to say one of the ways we’re speeding up this process is by jumpstarting certain of these things and maybe not waiting until there is a consensus but just getting the process rolling, so I – again--we have to keep in mind we’re less than six months after the war was completed. This is a very, very short time period. I think when we look back two years from now we’re going to say that it was actually remarkably quick progress. You have to, sort of, have a little perspective I think.

BEN WATTENBERG: Ivo, just expand for us a little bit on your idea of internationalization of the whole situation. What would that mean at the end of the day? Who would be doing what to whom in the Daalder program?

IVO DAALDER: You’d have to separate the military from the civilian organization of the occupation or the stabilization effort. On the military side I think everybody agrees that what we need is a U.S.-led multinational force with a U.N. mandate. That is what is in the U.N. Security Council resolution, that the United States has tabled and there is nobody out there who thinks it should be anything differently. The real debate is on the civilian side, which we at the moment control exclusively through the coalition provisional authorities. And the question is, is that the way to continue or can we find a bigger international face and a bigger international role in that part. I think we need to do that. I think what we need to do is to dissolve the coalitional provisional authority and to set up an international authority that is responsible to the U.N. though not necessarily run by the U.N. In the Balkans and particularly in Bosnia, United Nations does not run the operation. It is an ad hoc international organization that is doing that. There are various models that we can use from history. It doesn’t have to be run by Koffi Annan; it doesn’t have to be a U.N.-run organization, and it certainly on the military side will not be a U.N.-run organization. It needs to be in the military a U.S.-run organization with as much international participation as possible...more than we have right now, which is basically thirty-nine countries providing twenty-five thousand troops, which fourteen thousand are British.

BEN WATTENBERG: The idea of this interim council that is now the Iraqi side of the government, is it your view that that will sort of automatically legitimate itself slowly as it goes, as people see them having meetings and doing things?

IVO DAALDER: As the interim governing council is able to deliver more and more what the people want, people will regard it as more and more legitimate. But ultimately legitimacy has to reside with the Iraqi people, which you’re only going to get through a constitutional process and through national elections. That’s the process that the IGC, the Interim Government Council can help push along together, I think, with an international civilian authority that helps push that along. But the key for these people, these twenty-five leaders who have been appointed by us to gain legitimacy in Iraq, is to start delivering for the Iraqi people.

KARL ZINSMEISTER: I’m not actually for internationalization. I think it’s a…

BEN WATTENBERG: You are or you are not?

KARL ZINSMEISTER: I’m not. I think it’s a poor idea. I think that what really needs to be emphasized is Iraqification. That’s both on the security front, and on the governing front, really the way we ought to go. And that, by the way, is what the military leaders are pushing very hard for.

BEN WATTENBERG: All right, to close this out, give me a guess as to where Iraq will be a year from now and five years from now.

IVO DAALDER: I think a year from now we’re going to have a hundred thousand American troops and a continuing erosion of popular support for the American occupation. And five years from now it depends on what we do after a year. If we do the smart thing, we may in fact be able to get Iraq back on track. But the possibility is that five years from now this thing has gone totally off the track.


KARL ZINSMEISTER: We can punctuate this with a very different view at the end here because I actually think a year from now things will be in much better shape. I think we’ve just recently turned a corner. The military people who are essentially the princes of Iraq today are telling me very encouraging things about military progress, about political progress, about economic progress. Five years from now I expect Iraq will be a manageable country. It would look a lot like the Balkan nations, which are not thriving, you know, perfect democracies, which are not perfect free economies, but which are manageable countries we can live with and work with and I expect that’s where Iraq will be relatively soon.

BEN WATTENBERG: Okay. On those predicted notes, let us call a halt here. Thank you very much Karl Zinsmeister. Thank you very much Ivo Daalder and thank you. Please remember to send us your comments via email. That is how we try to make our program better. For Think Tank, I’m Ben Wattenberg.


We at Think Tank depend on your views to make our show better. Please send your questions and comments to New River Media, 1219 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20036. Or e-mail us at

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: benwattenberg; interview; iraq; postwariraq; rebuildingiraq; thinktank; transcript

1 posted on 11/02/2003 12:44:10 PM PST by Stultis
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
2 posted on 11/02/2003 12:44:51 PM PST by Stultis
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To: Stultis
Bump for later read.
3 posted on 11/02/2003 12:55:01 PM PST by Madame Dufarge
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To: Stultis
Thanks, Stultis. Ivo's wrong, dead wrong about the UN being in charge, no matter how the international propagandists smear us and spin the UN. Gives away his own bias and ignorance of Iraqi sentiment, imho.

Leading up to and following the war in Iraq, a crucial view has been missing (in the press) from the debate over the future of this pivotal nation: the opinions of actual Iraqis.

4 posted on 11/02/2003 1:15:36 PM PST by Ragtime Cowgirl (Can we really debate the wisdom of removing Saddam Hussein from power.. liberating Iraq?~Conde,10/31)
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
Agreed, and of course I posted because of Zinsmeister's comments.
5 posted on 11/02/2003 1:29:47 PM PST by Stultis
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To: Stultis; MJY1288; Calpernia; Grampa Dave; anniegetyourgun; Ernest_at_the_Beach; BOBTHENAILER; ...
I'm sorry, Stultis. Didn't mean to sound snippy. Don't have much patience for 'Ivos' today.

Pinging for Karl Zinsmeister's view of Iraq.

If you want on or off my Pro-Coalition ping list, please Freepmail me. Warning: it is a high volume ping list on good days. (Most days are good days).

6 posted on 11/02/2003 1:40:11 PM PST by Ragtime Cowgirl (Can we really debate the wisdom of removing Saddam Hussein from power.. liberating Iraq?~Conde,10/31)
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To: Stultis
The problem I have with these western polls being done in Iraq is that I question the reliance on Iraqi's being willing to suddenly be honest and open about their opinions. Remember, that not to long ago, they were all lining up to vote for Saddam. How can a poll such as this measure their honesty?

As a sales person, I spent some time in direct sales to Russians who had come to this country after the fall of the wall. This was several years after that event, and these Russians all spoke English, yet it was clear from talking to them after a longer period of time that as much as they were happy to be in America, many of their old reflexes remained with them, particularly the paranoia acquired under a relatively strict regime. I even had one woman who's son left the house during the sales talk, and when we leaving he was not in sight. She couldn't keep herself from running out to my car to look inside in the back seat to make sure we hadn't taken him. Under a strict regime, the only strangers that talk to you work for the government, and people quickly adjust their habits to this.

7 posted on 11/02/2003 1:54:02 PM PST by Held_to_Ransom
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To: Stultis
I basically disagree with both of them. I think a year from now people will be thrilled to see that Iraq is becoming a truely free country. I'm not sure what their elections will be like but I expect the Iraqi people to take to democracy like fish to water. This can already be seen in the local councils as they try to understand the parameters of their own power.

This is why it is so important to keep the UN out of it. The people have to learn that their government must respond to them because they have the most powerful think in Iraq.....the vote.

8 posted on 11/02/2003 2:37:20 PM PST by McGavin999
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To: McGavin999
I'm more optimistic as well. I think there's an excellent chance, once past the first few elections that aren't "stolen" by some radical, anti-democratics cabal, for the people of Iraq to gain confidence in their freedom and for this regional transformation project to really take off. No, there won't be other democracies overnight. It may take a generation or two, but I suspect the changes a decade from now will be astounding in comparison to the current toxic status quo.

I hope we're not foolish optimists.

9 posted on 11/02/2003 4:41:17 PM PST by Stultis
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To: McGavin999
This is why it is so important to keep the UN out of it. The people have to learn that their government must respond to them because they have the most powerful think in Iraq.....the vote.

Yes. The UN has many members who are vile dictatorships, theocracys, and worse. The US is democratic. Other countries are as well, but there is no organization of democracies.
It is either a reconstruction led by a democracy (the US) and its allies (UK, Poland, Australia, etc.) or one led by an assortment of bad and failing gov'ts. The former is the only way to get a good result.

10 posted on 11/02/2003 5:49:50 PM PST by speekinout
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
Thanks for the heads up!
11 posted on 11/02/2003 7:57:25 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
12 posted on 11/03/2003 10:10:53 AM PST by windchime
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