Nov 20, 2005 5:00 pm


You would not know this from the MSM coverage of the Pew Poll but the majority of the public, 56% to 37% to be exact, believes the US will succeed in establishing a democracy in Iraq. The military is even more confident. 64% to 32% of the military elite believe the US will achieve that goal. 51% to 45% of State and Local government also expect Iraqi democracy to succeed.

Contrast this with the pessimism of the non governing elite: Only 33% to 63% of the MSM; 28% to 71% of the members of the Foreign Affairs Council (for some reason they are the ONLY experts in foreign relations queried); 27% to 71% of the academics/think tank community believes in such success. Most pessimistic are the scientists and engineers. Only 18% of them believe democracy is achievable.

The trouble for the administration comes from the fact that only for 24% of the American public considers democratization a top priority. That is the reason that belief in success in establishing a democracy in Iraq, does not translate into support for the war and only 48% to 44% of the public believes that the decision to take military action in Iraq was a good idea.

For the public, democracy in Iraq, like in Germany and Japan, can be a sold as a worthwhile by-product of victory but not as the meaning of victory. As I have argued, they would support a revival of the Bush doctrine. Actions, not speeches, are needed to regain public trust and support. Because when all said and done, the public considers terrorism the top priority and arguing that terrorism is being defeated while terrorists are safely ensconced in Damascus and Tehran is less than credible. Indeed, under such circumstances increased isolationism makes sense and so is a renewed focus on building a better fortress America.

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