Mudcat Café message #1390369 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #62901   Message #1390369
Posted By: Amos
27-Jan-05 - 02:30 PM
Thread Name: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
US doubts Bush's Iraq optimism

By Jill McGivering
BBC News, Washington

The Iraq elections are being watched closely in the United States by both the Bush administration and the public. Americans are concerned about the violence in Iraq

The White House is hailing the process as a milestone in Iraq's journey to greater freedom as evidence that life for ordinary Iraqis has improved since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

But, with the continuing violence still causing concern and no signs yet of the US scaling back its presence, public optimism about the elections is not high.

Upbeat administration

Iraq still makes daily headlines across America. The violence is at odds with the endlessly upbeat message from members of the Bush administration.

They justify the invasion by stressing the country's new freedoms.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice emphasised the importance of the elections not only to Iraq but also as a key part of the president's vision of spreading democracy across the Middle East:

"The election later this month will be an important first step as the people of Iraq prepare to draft a constitution and hold the next round of elections, elections that will then create a permanent government," Ms Rice said.

"The success of freedom in Afghanistan and Iraq will give strength and hope to reformists throughout the region and accelerate the reforms already underway," she added.

Public pessimism

But that optimism is not shared by the American public, which is increasingly concerned about the violence.

The latest findings of the Washington-based Pew Research Centre found about half of those polled thought the elections would not do much to improve stability in Iraq.

Carroll Doherty of Pew Research says the figures in part mirror the general political divide, with Democrats most anxious about Iraq and Republicans slightly less so: "Most people say that, even after the election, Iraq will be no more stable or no less stable for that matter, it'll be the status quo."

The levels of support and opposition have remained stable for the past few months.

"We haven't seen a big drop off in support for the war. Democrats still largely oppose the war, Republicans still largely support it," he said.