Are you paying attention, those of you on the far left who rooted for failure in Iraq?
Dramatic advances in public attitudes are sweeping Iraq, with declining violence, rising economic well-being and improved services lifting optimism, fueling confidence in public institutions and bolstering support for democracy.
The gains in the latest ABC News/BBC/NHK poll represent a stunning reversal of the spiral of despair caused by Iraq’s sectarian violence in 2006 and 2007. The sweeping rebound, extending initial improvements first seen a year ago, marks no less than the opportunity for a new future for Iraq and its people.
While deep difficulties remain, the advances are remarkable. Eighty-four percent of Iraqis now rate security in their own area positively, nearly double its August 2007 level. Seventy-eight percent say their protection from crime is good, more than double its low. Three-quarters say they can go where they want safely – triple what it’s been.
Few credit the United States, still widely unpopular given the post-invasion violence, and eight in 10 favor its withdrawal on schedule by 2011 – or sooner. But at the same time a new high, 64 percent of Iraqis, now call democracy their preferred form of government.
Remaining challenges are serious. Many views have not recovered to their pre-2006 levels. Violence continues, even if much abated. Basic services such as medical care and clean water, though better, are still in short supply. Even with their confidence vastly improved, Sunni Arabs remain far more vulnerable personally and skeptical politically. Sunni/Shiite segregation has increased sharply. Kurdish-Arab relations are tense. And issues from corruption to suspected vote fraud and political gridlock cloud the horizon.
Still, the number of Iraqis who call security the single biggest problem in their own lives has dropped from 48 percent in March 2007 to 20 percent now. Two years ago 56 percent called it the single biggest problem for the country as a whole; that’s down to 35 percent now, including a 15-point drop in the last year alone. Fifty-nine percent now feel “very” safe in their communities, up 22 points from last year and more than double its lowest. Recent local fighting among sectarian forces is reported by 6 percent, compared with 22 percent a year ago.
Thanks to President Bush, McCain, and others for hanging tough and not bowing to the political will of the cut and run lefties in Congress. And millions of thanks to our men and women in uniform who have played a large role in making all of this possible. The surge has produced fruitful results that even the average Iraqi is noticing, results that would not have been possible had it been for the defeatists in Congress like then-Senator-now-President Barack Obama.