The British media, which have been more critical of the Bush administration's Iraq policy than the American media, are displaying some signs of optimism about the war. Sunday's Times reported the results of an Opinion Research Business Poll of more than 5,000 Iraqis. It said the majority is "optimistic," despite their suffering in sectarian violence. This despite the fact that 26 percent of Iraqis report a family member has been murdered. In Baghdad, 33 percent has had a relative kidnapped and 35 percent said members of their family had fled abroad. And yet, when asked whether they preferred life under Saddam Hussein or elected Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, 49 percent of those polled said they were better off today.
Despite the regular use of the term "civil war" in the media to describe the continuing, but apparently diminishing violence in and near Baghdad, only 27 percent of those polled described it as such; 61 percent did not.
There are other signs of budding optimism. In Karadeh, formerly an affluent shopping area of Baghdad, some shops have started to reopen and murderous sectarian checkpoints have begun to disappear, as Iraqi and American security forces dominate more of the capital.
If this surge continues to work and hopeful buds turn to blossoms of freedom for Iraqis, there will be many American politicians with more than egg on their faces. Congressional war opponents will deserve to lose the next election because of the worst possible display of bad judgment.
If stability is achieved and freedom preserved, March 20, 2003, will no longer be seen as the "beginning" of a war, but as Independence Day for a nation whose renaissance may just turn the tide of this world war in freedom's direction.
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