Only One Percent of Iraqis Trust U.S. Forces

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That's the headline, based on Rep. Murtha's speech:

A public opinion Iraqi poll, a segment of 18 provinces, all 18 provinces: More than half the Iraqis say they are headed in the wrong direction, and 82 percent say the economic situation is either poor or fair. Now, these are the Iraqis. Ninety percent say the security situation is poor or fair.

And who do they trust? Who do they trust for personal security? Forty-three percent trust the Iraqi police, 35 percent trust the Iraqi army, 6 percent trust the insurgents, 6 percent trust the insurgents, 4 percent trust the armed militia, and 1 percent, 1 percent trust the multinational force.

This was echoed on McLaughlin Group tonight where John McLaughlin said, "only one percent trust the U.S. and the multinational force" and "they don't regard the United States as a source for their personal security."

The problem is that it's not true.

On McLaughlin they had a pie chart, labelled "INT'L REPUBLICAN INST. POLL," so I found the International Republican Institute web site, and a link to the poll (it's in the PowerPoint presentation, slide 40).

Note, again, I said it was a pie chart. That means all the numbers add up to something close to 100 percent. That means you could only make one choice. That means that, for all we know, the U.S. was second or third on the list of everyone who also said they trust most the Iraqi police or army (which was a combined 78 percent).

All the poll says is that the Iraqis look to the Iraqi army, police, and insurgents for the protection of their personal safety as a first choice more than they look to the multinational troops as a first choice. And that's not bad at all: I would much rather have them trust the Iraqi police and army than our troops, for many reasons, most importantly, that this is primarily their job, not ours.

The apparent implication made by Murtha, that the Iraqis trust insurgents more than the multinational troops for their safety, is unsupportable by this poll, which provides no evidence of any kind that shows the Iraqi people do not trust the U.S. for their safety. Maybe they don't, but this poll won't tell you that.

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