Amazing Poll Results
edited: Monday, May 10, 2004
By Robert M. Liu
Not "rated" by the Author.
Posted: Monday, May 10, 2004
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If Americans want Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld to stay in office and help win the remaining battles in Iraq, they may want George W. Bush to stay in office too, come November.
Amazing Poll Results
-- by Robert M. Liu
The photographs of Iraqi prisoner abuse by some U.S. military police personnel at Abu Ghraib Prison, Baghdad, released recently by CBS are disgusting materials unfit for youngsters to watch. In the interest of their moral responsibilities, TV networks should limit the exposure of such materials during prime time on a voluntary basis.
In the meantime, while the American public is understandably outraged, the Democrats appear to be cheerful that at long last they have obtained strong ammunition which they can fire at the Bush administration. Some of them are so eager to shoot that the words "Got you" could tumble out of their mouths at any time.
The U.S. military launched investigations into the scandal shortly after it was alerted in January of this year. Now it is waiting for the results of the investigations. But such well-known Democratic partisan players as Sen. Ted Kennedy and Tom Harkin can't wait. They have already come to the conclusion that those few military police personnel could not have acted on their own.
The Democrats need to be careful in insinuating somebody up the chain of command had given the military police instructions to abuse Iraqi prisoners. What if that "somebody up the chain of command" was a Democrat? Wouldn't that give rise to suspicions of a left-wing conspiracy designed to undermine America's war effort in Iraq?
Messrs Kennedy and Harkin don't say they know who that somebody was. Nevertheless, they want heads to roll even before the investigations are completed, calling for the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
Needless to say, they have bigger fish to fry -- their ultimate target is George W. Bush. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld is Bush's chief advisor on the Iraq War. Both Kennedy and Harkin are opposed to the Iraq War.
If Rumsfeld resigned, Messrs Kennedy and Harkin would almost certainly come out with a swagger, declaring themselves vindicated. Next, they would most likely call for the resignation of George W. Bush. Sen. Ted Kennedy has already said, "Iraq is George Bush's Vietnam." But if there is an equation between Iraq and Vietnam, Ho Chi-ming would have been in U.S. custody.
If one has a sense of humor, one might find Ted Kennedy's performance full of fun. Each time something goes wrong in Iraq, he is sure to appear on TV in the best of spirits and without exception in his element, proving to the public "Iraq is a quagmire", as if he were cheerleader-in- chief for the Iraqi insurgents.
Though not in celebration of the death of American soldiers in Iraq, the senator apparently is very happy that their death gives him partisan ammunition against George W. Bush. One would wonder what his elder brother, the late president John F. Kennedy, has to say to him someday when they meet in the Kingdom of God.
Partisan politics aside, something strange may be happening in the area of public opinion. On Friday (May 7, 2004), ABC's Nightline program announced that a recent survey (probably conducted by ABC itself) indicated that when asked whether Rumsfeld should resign over the Abu Ghraib Prison scandal, only 20% of those surveyed said yes; 69% said no.
This is amazing, given the fact that the American public is bombarded with ugly TV images of war and abuse from Iraq on a daily basis. Of course, we are entitled to doubt the accuracy of the aforesaid opinion survey. These days, opinion polls could become leg-pulls -- who knows? On the other hand, if the opinion survey results mentioned on Nightline are accurate, their significance to the November 2004 presidential election may be great.
Yes, America has won the Iraq War. Yes, Saddam Hussein has been captured. But the U.S. military still has to pacify Iraq, which is a very tough job. The country is as attractive as a hot potato. France and Germany don't want to be involved. Spain has chickened out recently.
Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's calls for more international cooperation sound like silly whines, as if the Bush administration doesn't want more international cooperation, as if there is zero international cooperation.
The fact is Colin Powell has enlisted a lot of international cooperation -- probably as much as America could possibly get. The Democrats' grumbles about "lack of international cooperation" are an insult to the secretary of state and a disrespectful denial of his achievements.
Whatever John Kerry says, France, Germany and Russia have made clear that they will not step into the fray, no matter who is in the White House. The new Spanish prime minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who pulled Spanish troops out of Iraq, is an anti-war, left-wing Socialist, an ideological comrade of John Kerry.
Such folks are only good at undermining war efforts. For example, after spending four months in Vietnam, John Kerry returned to America as a war hero but started to slander the U.S. military, telling the public U.S. troops were committing war crimes in Vietnam "on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command." He provided no proof to support his claim, though.
As to the Iraqi situation, nobody guided by common sense would believe that radical Shiite cleric al-Sadr's militia can hold out forever in Najaf or that the Baathist-terrorist insurgents in Fallujah can defeat the U.S. military. They are contained in certain areas. But the violence in Iraq has caused the level of public anxiety to rise.
It is under these circumstances that the Abu Ghraib Prison scandal broke out. If Americans want to blame this "Iraq quagmire" on someone, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld is a convenient target. Yet, according to the recent opinion survey mentioned above, the American public, by a wide margin, wants Rumsfeld to stay in office.
Interpretation One: The American public wants to be fair. There is no evidence that the defense secretary is directly responsible for the Abu Ghraib Prison abuse. Even so, this is amazing, when one considers the fact that America is politically divided and that fairness is a luxury in an atmosphere poisoned by partisanship.
Interpretation Two: The American public wants the U.S. military to win the remaining battles in Iraq and understands that it is unwise to change horses in midstream. If that is the case, the wisdom of the American public should catch politicians' attention. It may also indicate that despite the gory TV images from Iraq, patriotic sentiments among Americans may be rising in step with their level of anxiety.
The point is: If Americans want Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld to stay in office and help the U.S. military win the remaining battles in Iraq, they probably would want George W. Bush, who hired Rumsfeld, to stay in office too, come November. It is in this sense that the opinion poll results mentioned on ABC's Nightline are amazing and may be significant to the election.
May 10, 2004