Anorak News | Polls Apart

Polls Apart

by | 17th, July 2003

‘YESTERDAY, the 147th US soldier was killed in Iraq, equal to the total US casualties in the first Gulf War.

A two-headed monster

And, with the Guardian estimating that the continuing occupation of the country is costing British taxpayers £5m a day, the papers are asking serious questions.

The Independent says both war leaders, President George Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair, will meet today with their credibility under fire.

And, says the paper, the meeting could scarcely have been worse timed.

‘The last person, surely, that Mr Blair would want to be seen with is the ally he is accused of following meekly into the increasingly costly and unhappy Iraq adventure,’ it says.

‘For his part, Mr Bush must share the podium with the leader of the country whose intelligence services, which are quoted as the authors of the uranium-from-Africa fantasy, have indirectly led him into the hottest water of his presidency.’

But was it British intelligence that was to blame? The Guardian uncovers a shadow right-wing intelligence network in Washington that was set up by Donald Rumsfeld to second-guess the CIA.

The Office Of Special Plans (OSP) is, says the paper, ‘staffed mainly by ideological amateurs’ and operates ‘under the patronage of hardline conservatives in the top rungs of the administration’.

Its job was to provide a justification for war – and this it clearly succeeded in doing.

However, despite the Pentagon nut squad, the dodgy intelligence and the cost of ongoing operations in Iraq, the pro-war papers are sticking to their guns.

The Telegraph, for instance, quotes an opinion poll, which it says ‘rebuffs those who believe the Iraq war and its aftermath have proved a disaster’.

Only 11 per cent of Iraqis questioned by YouGov wanted the Anglo-American force to leave immediately – and half thought the toppling of Saddam Hussein was a good thing.

Good news maybe for Bush and Blair, but it is the opinion polls within their own countries that they will be studying with far greater care.

Posted: 17th, July 2003 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink