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(08/20/07) -

Iraq War Creates Terrorism, Say Americans

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Many people in the United States believe their country’s military involvement in Iraq is making them more vulnerable to a new terrorist attack, according to a poll by CBS News. 46 per cent of respondents think the Iraq war is creating more terrorists who are planning to harm the U.S., up two points since July.

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Many people in the United States believe their country’s military involvement in Iraq is making them more vulnerable to a new terrorist attack, according to a poll by CBS News. 46 per cent of respondents think the Iraq war is creating more terrorists who are planning to harm the U.S., up two points since July.

Conversely, 18 per cent of respondents think being in Iraq is helping eliminate terrorists who might be planning to attack the U.S.

The coalition effort against Saddam Hussein’s regime was launched in March 2003. At least 3,705 American soldiers have died during the military operation, and more than 27,400 troops have been wounded in action.

In December 2005, Iraqi voters renewed their National Assembly. In May 2006, Shiite United Iraqi Alliance member Nouri al-Maliki officially took over as prime minister.

In October 2006, U.S. president George W. Bush justified his decision to launch the coalition effort in Iraq, declaring, “This country of ours must take threats seriously before they fully materialize. Saddam Hussein was a threat; the world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power. And now the fundamental question is, does this country have the wherewithal and the perseverance to help this young democracy flourish in the heart of the Middle East? I will tell you, it’s important to defeat the enemy overseas so we do not have to face them here at home.” 49 per cent of respondents believe the U.S. will be safer from terrorists in the long run if it stays politically out of other countries’ affairs, while 41 per cent think it will be best if the U.S. confronts countries and groups that promote terrorism.

On Jan. 10, Bush introduced his new course of action for the coalition effort, which includes an increase in U.S. troop levels. On Jul. 12, Bush discussed the Iraqi government’s progress, declaring, “Of the 18 benchmarks Congress asked us to measure, we can report that satisfactory progress is being made in eight areas.”

The U.S. Congress has asked commander of the Multi-National Force – Iraq David Petraeus and U.S. ambassador in Iraq Ryan Crocker to provide a comprehensive assessment of the situation in Iraq in September.

On Aug. 16, a report showed that 99 soldiers killed themselves in 2006, the highest number in the U.S. army in 26 years. Nearly one third of the soldiers committed suicide while in Iraq or Afghanistan. Army officials also said there were 948 suicide attempts last year.

Democratic Washington senator Patty Murray—a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee—discussed the report’s findings, saying, “I am deeply concerned but not surprised.” Murray added that this high rate could be due to longer and repeated tours of duty and to the fact that many members of the military do not understand how to deal with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Polling Data

Right now, is the U.S. involvement in Iraq creating more terrorists who are planning to attack the U.S., eliminating terrorists who were planning to attack the U.S., or is the U.S. involvement in Iraq not affecting the number of terrorists planning to attack the U.S.?

Aug. 2007

Jul. 2007

Creating

46%

44%

Eliminating

18%

18%

Not affecting

17%

27%

Unsure

9%

11%

Which comes closer to your view? In the long run, the U.S. will be safer from terrorism if it confronts the countries and groups that promote terrorism; or, In the long run, the U.S. will be safer from terrorism if it stays out of other countries’ affairs.

Confronts

41%

Stays out

49%

Unsure

10%

Source: CBS News
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,214 American adults, conducted from Aug. 8 to Aug. 12, 2007. Margin of error is 3 per cent.