I'll admit that even I did not expect this quick of a change. In a week that has had both the NYT editorial page and the new republic admitting to some degree that they were wrong and Bush was right, it looks like we have a titanic sort of shift in popular opinion in the muslim world. It's amazing if you consider just how intractable things seemed a few months ago. I can't even begin to list the number of times that I've heard hippies whine that we lost the war for hearts and minds. Now, despite everything, it seems those very hearts and minds have almost fallen into our laps. That is not to say that they love america or anything, but the push for democracy backed by the US is paying heavy dividens. I find it hilarious that it's altogether possible that in 50 years bush is viewed by history as some sort of visonary genius, presiding not only over a settlement to the israeli-palestinian conflict but almost a democratization of the arab world.
Haider Ajina has translated for us a poll that appeared today in the Iraqi newspaper Al-Sabah Al-Jadeed. The poll surveyed 2,878 Iraqis in and around Baghdad:
Do you support the severe measures the Iraqi Government is taking against terrorist acts in Iraq?
93.56% = Yes
6.44% = No
How do you think Arabic satellite news companies are covering Iraqi news?
Neutral = 16.75%
Not Neutral = 7.25%
Negatively Biased = 76%
What is your opinion of U.N. Resolution 1546?
It achieves the ambitions of Iraqis for sovereignty = 73.12%
It satisfies ambition of certain Iraqi groups = 12.90%
It helps legitimise the American occupation = 13.98%
Poll: Major Change of Public Opinion in Muslim World
Friday March 4, 12:01 am ET
WASHINGTON, March 4 /PRNewswire/ -- In the first substantial shift of public opinion in the Muslim world since the beginning of the United States' global war on terrorism, more people in the world's largest Muslim country now favor American efforts against terrorism than oppose them. This is just one of many dramatic findings of a new nationwide poll in Indonesia released today.
"In a stunning turnaround of public opinion, support for Bin Laden and terrorism in the world's most populous Muslim nation has dropped significantly, while favorable views of the United States have increased," said Kenneth Ballen, President of Terror Free Tomorrow, which commissioned the poll. "The poll shows that the reason for this positive change is the American response to the tsunami," Ballen added.
Key Findings of the Poll:
* For the first time ever in a major Muslim nation, more people favor US-led efforts to fight terrorism than oppose them (40% to 36%). Importantly, those who oppose US efforts against terrorism have declined by half, from 72% in 2003 to just 36% today.
* For the first time ever in a Muslim nation since 9/11, support for Osama Bin Laden has dropped significantly (58% favorable to just 23%).
* 65% of Indonesians now are more favorable to the United States because of the American response to the tsunami, with the highest percentage among people under 30.
* Indeed, 71% of the people who express confidence in Bin Laden are now more favorable to the United States because of American aid to tsunami victims.