On Monday, John McCain wisely urged Barack Obama to join him in visiting Iraq, something Obama hasn't done since 2006, when he declared the war lost. This is exactly what McCain ought to be doing: taking it to Obama on an issue that appears to favor Obama but in reality favors McCain.
In thrashing President Bush over Iraq since before we invaded, the mainstream media and the Democratic Party have succeeded in convincing much of the public that the war is a failure and that we must withdraw immediately. The propaganda effort has been so relentless that this perception remains to a great extent, even after the dramatic turnaround occasioned by the surge. But this is primarily because the media do their best to suppress any good news coming out of Iraq.
According to Karlyn Bowman, a public opinion researcher at American Enterprise Institute, while polls indicate a majority of Americans believe the war in Iraq was a mistake (also thanks to the Dems and the MSM), they also believe substantial progress has been made because of the surge. Surprisingly -- you'd never hear this emphasized by the MSM -- only 18 to 20 percent of Americans consistently say we should remove our troops now.
A Quinnipiac University poll conducted May 8-12 basically validates Bowman, saying 22 percent believe we should withdraw ASAP, compared to 48 percent who believe we should set a timetable and 28 percent who insist we should keep troops there as long as needed.
Admittedly, different polls show different results, largely because of the wording of the questions. An ABC News/Washington Post poll, for example, asked, "Do you think the United States should keep its military forces in Iraq until civil order is restored there, even if that means continued U.S. military casualties?" It's not surprising that only 41 percent answered yes because respondents, in order to answer affirmatively, were forced to say they favored a scenario that would lead to American casualties.
Can you imagine what public opinion would look like if the MSM were closer to neutrality on this issue and the Democratic Party were dedicated to the long-term best interests of the United States instead of its own partisan aggrandizement?
But even with the propaganda against the war and in favor of immediate withdrawal, a significant majority of Americans understand we do have a major stake in Iraq and that you can't precipitously withdraw without negative consequences.