On Wednesday March 15, 2006, the New America Foundation hosted a forum about where American and Iraqi public opinion on the war stands three years after hostilities began, and how it's changing. Co-chaired by Steven Kull, the principal investigator of a survey conducted by the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA), and Anatol Lieven, Senior Research Fellow at the New America Foundation, and moderated by Jerry Irvine, New America's Director of Communications, the panel served to announce PIPA's findings and to discuss many of their wider implications.
Over 800 people participated in the 50 question survey, which demonstrated that, among other things, the American public is growing dissatisfied with the war, and that most don't believe it will end soon, even if the new Iraqi government requests our withdrawal. Lieven noted that this implied a growing distance between the establishment in Washington who, for instance, dismiss the thought of bringing the United Nations into the peacemaking effort, and the countryside, which overwhelmingly supports the idea.
Steven Kull presented findings of the in-depth study, addressing such issues as:
- Does the American public see Iraq as a war of necessity or a war of choice?
- Do Americans feel that the US plans to have permanent bases in Iraq?
- What does the public now believe about matters that formed the rationale for the war?
- What actions does the public want the Bush Administration to take?
American and Iraqi views were also compared on issues such as Iraqi support for attacks on US forces, and the impact of the potential withdrawal of US forces on security, through similar questions from a poll conducted in Iraq in January 2006 for www.WorldPublicOpinion.org.
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