Kris Kristofferson, Rhodes Scholar, Farm Aid Organizer and songwriter, had it right. Freedom occurs in a vacuum. And since the United States abhors a vacuum as much as nature, we won't be leaving Iraq anytime soon - much to the dismay of the people we are there to defend.
About six in 10 Iraqis say they approve of attacks on U.S.-led forces, and slightly more than that want their government to ask U.S. troops to leave within a year, a poll finds. This doesn't come as particularly shocking news, given the state of Iraq after the initial glow of "liberation" has become somewhat more desperate.
University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes also discovered that four in five Iraqis say the U.S. military force in Iraq provokes more violence than it prevents. That seems to match the trend we see on the television each night. Additionally, the poll revealed an overwhelmingly negative opinion of terror chief Osama bin Laden and more than half, 57 percent, disapproving of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. These folks don't seem to like much.
What are they whining about? Three years of foreign military occupation? Continued fighting by insurgents and a much-delayed reconstruction effort? Mounting civilian (read: non-combatant) casualties and a mounting pressure toward civil war? "We will be seen as liberators?" We will be seen as an occupying force, stirring up militant elements of an already unstable region. Iraqi deaths (for which no official tally exists) have moved past forty thousand. Whiners.
"What I hear from government representatives and other anecdotal evidence that you hear from Iraqis that is collected by embassy personnel and military personnel is that Iraqis do appreciate our presence there," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said. "They do understand the reasons for it, they do understand that we don't want to or we don't intend to be there indefinitely."
An Iraqi public opinion research firm with a proven record of conducting scientifically valid surveys conducted the department's poll, press officer Janelle Hironimus said later.
"We will not identify the firm in order to protect it and its employees from danger," she said.
And if that last bit doesn't have you laughing, or wincing, then maybe irony just isn't your cup of tea.