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  • Morning Bell: A Window of Opportunity for Iraq

    News from Iraq today reminds us that al Qaeda is still capable of inflicting misery on the Iraqi people. But, when pressed, even the Democrat presidential candidates admit the security situation in Iraq has markedly improved. As Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno pointed out earlier this month, while the surge is succeeding it has not yet achieved ultimate success: “For the government of Iraq, the surge has provided a window of opportunity. This window will not remain open forever.”

    How long that window stays open is up to the American people. As much as the U.S. has sacrificed so far, volumes of recent polling show that as long Iraqis are making progress, the American people will continue to support the efforts of soldiers like Odierno.

    • A new Pew poll shows that 53% of Americans believe the U.S. effort in Iraq will succeed, up 6 points from February 2007. The same poll shows 49% believe believe the U.S. is making progress establishing democracy in Iraq and 46% believe U.S. troops are reducing civilian casualties (up 26 points from 2007).
    • A new Gallup poll shows 40% of Americans believe the surge is making it better in Iraq compared to only 20% who believe it is making it worse.The same poll shows 65% of Americans believe the U.S. has an obligation to establish a reasonable level of stability and security in Iraq before withdrawing troops. Additionally, 63% of Americans believe al Qaeda would be more likely to use Iraq as a base if the U.S. withdrew its troops.
    • A new Wall Street Journal poll shows that the number of Americans who believe victory is possible in Iraq has jumped to 40%, up 8 points from July 2007. The same poll shows American prefer Sen. John McCain’s approach on Iraq over both Sens. Hillary Clinton (by 5 points) and Barack Obama (by 8 points).

    Heritage analyst James Carafano explained the surge in support to the AP: “Americans are not casualty averse. They are failure averse. They were unhappy with the lack of progress and spiraling violence. That is why you have seen public support rebound after it was clear the surge was working.” U.S. success in Iraq is showing up in polling from other countries as well:

    • A new CNN poll shows 55% of Iraqis say things in their own lives are going well, up from 39% in August 2007. Furthermore, 49% of Iraqis believe it was right for the U.S.-led coalition to have invaded, up 12 points from August 2007.
    • A recent survey found that in January less than a quarter of Pakistanis approved of Osama bin Laden, compared with 46% last August, while backing for al Qaeda fell from 33% to 18%.
    • A July 2007 report from the Pew Global Attitudes Project revealed “large and growing numbers of Muslims in the Middle East and elsewhere [are] rejecting Islamic extremism”.

    Quick Hits:

    • Anti-war activists are promising to disrupt the “Pillars of War” in Washington today targeting the IRS, the American Petroleum Institute, and even the press.
    • Democrats may abandon efforts to pass Medicare legislation this year and instead use the budget process to advance their increased spending.
    • A new U.S. border patrol policy of arresting and prosecuting all illegal immigrants has led to a 78% decrease in the numbers of immigrants caught at the border.
    • Economists are raising concerns about gun buyback programs, arguing that the guns usually surrendered in such buybacks are those that are least likely to be used in criminal activities and that replacement guns are easily obtained.
    • The National Park Service is facing a federal class-action lawsuit for not making public lands like the Pacific shoreline and Muir Woods handicap accessible.
    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

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