Conservatives insist that winning the war in Iraq is central to achieving success in the fight against terrorism and that we must therefore stay in Iraq as long as necessary to win the war. On this, as with so many other policies advocated by today’s conservatives, the public has a completely different viewpoint.
Take how winning the war fits into the fight against terrorism. In the just released ABC News/Washington Post poll, only about a third of Americans think the United States needs to win the Iraq war “in order for the broader war against terrorism to be a success,” compared to 60 percent who think the war against terrorism can succeed without victory in Iraq.
And as for staying in Iraq as long as necessary to win the war…forget about it. An overwhelming 68 percent in a recent LA Times poll say we should either be withdrawing our troops right away (25 percent) or beginning to do so within the next year (43 percent). Just 26 percent subscribe to the “as long as it takes” approach.
We’ll hear a lot of things about Iraq this election year, but don’t let anyone tell you the conservative approach to Iraq is gaining public support. As these data vividly illustrate, nothing could be farther from the truth.