Losing hearts and minds

80% of Iraqis don’t like the CPA; and that was before Fallujah, the Sadrist uprising, and Abu Ghraib. Oddly, they seem to like the police.

The Washington Post reports:

Four out of five Iraqis report holding a negative view of the U.S. occupation authority and of coalition forces, according to a new poll conducted for the occupation authority.

In the poll, 80 percent of the Iraqis questioned reported a lack of confidence in the Coalition Provisional Authority, and 82 percent said they disapprove of the U.S. and allied militaries in Iraq.

Although comparative numbers from previous polls are not available, “generally speaking, the trend is downward,” said Donald Hamilton, a senior counselor to civilian administrator L. Paul Bremer. The occupation authority has been commissioning such surveys in Iraq since late last year, he said. This one was taken in Baghdad and several other Iraqi cities in late March and early April, shortly before the surge in anti-coalition violence and a few weeks before the detainee-abuse scandal became a major issue for the U.S. authorities in Iraq.

And that was back in March and early April, before Fallujah, the confrontation with Moqtada al-Sadr, and the Abu Ghraib revelations.

The poll showed Moqtada al-Sadr with significant support. I wonder if anyone in the CPA had seen the results before deciding to confront him?

A surprising finding: the Iraqi police were popular.

The Iraqi police received a 79 percent positive rating, the best of the seven institutions about which questions were asked. The reformed Iraqi army was not far behind, with a 61 percent positive rating.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com