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How World Socialist Web Site has discovered "mass opposition" to war in Iraq in the United States and maked the editor of Yellow Left Press Valentin Zorin happy


Dear Editors,

As the editor of the "Yellow Left Press" column ever in search of worthy targets, I royally enjoyed Mr. Van Auken's sensational revelations about the "staggering"
growth of "mass opposition" in the US. I was also curious enough to check those "figures showing a huge percentage of the US population opposing the US occupation of Iraq" and want to share my findings with the Editorial Board of WSWS. Here are the relevant clips from the NYT article on the results of this poll.

Support for War Is Down Sharply, Poll Concludes
"Support for the war in Iraq has eroded substantially over the past several months, and Americans are increasingly critical of the way President George Bush is handling the conflict, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll.

After initially expressing robust backing for the war, the public is now evenly divided over whether the US military should stay for as long as it takes to stabilise Iraq or pull out as soon as possible, the poll published in The New York Times showed.

Asked whether the US had done the right thing in taking military action against Iraq, 47 percent of respondents said it had, down from 58 percent a month earlier and 63 percent in December, just after American forces captured Saddam Hussein.

Forty-six percent said the US should have stayed out of Iraq, up from 37 percent last month and 31 percent in December.

The diminished public support for the war did not translate into any significant advantage for Bush's Democratic challenger, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts.

The poll questioned 1,042 people. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points."

Leaving aside semantics--does "not to support " mean "to oppose"?!--one is still left to wonder about the political alchemy that could create out of this data the following statement by the author:

"The latest of these polls, conducted by the New York Times and CBS News, shows a clear majority—58 percent—affirming that the war “was not worth the loss of American life,” while half of those polled said that Washington should withdraw all US troops from the country “as soon as possible,” regardless of whether “stability” had been imposed upon Iraq."

Now, one can judge the seriousness of this "mass opposition" by the following results, obtained by the same poll:

"The poll showed the two men remaining in a statistical dead heat, both in a head-to-head matchup and in a three-way race that included Ralph Nader.

Support for Bush is stronger in other areas vital to his re-election, including his handling of the threat from terrorism, which won the approval of 60 percent of respondents.
Even so, just short of a year after Bush stood on the deck of the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln May 1 last year and proclaimed the end to major combat operations under a banner reading "Mission Accomplished," his approval rating has slid from the high levels it reached during the war.

It now stands at 46 percent, the lowest level of his presidency in The Times/CBS News Poll, down from 71 percent last March and a high of 89 percent just after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

At this point in his winning re-election race in 1996, President Bill Clinton's approval rating in The New York Times/CBS News Poll was 48 percent.
Bush's approval rating for his handling of Iraq was 41 percent, down from 49 percent last month and 59 percent in December.

The survey held hints of trouble for Kerry as he seeks to introduce himself to an electorate that knows relatively little about him. While 55 percent of Bush's supporters said they strongly favoured the president, only 32 percent of Kerry's supporters strongly favoured their candidate.

Sixty-one percent of voters said Kerry says what he thinks people want to hear, versus 29 percent who said he says what he believes. The Bush campaign has attacked Kerry for months on that score, portraying him as a flip-flopper with no convictions.
On the same question, 43 percent said Bush says what people want to hear and 53 percent said he says what he believes.

The poll, conducted from Friday to Tuesday, came during a month that has seen more American soldiers killed in Iraq than in any other month since the invasion 13 months ago."

In other words, the "mass opposition" to Bush's war in Iraq miraculously has failed to erode the "mass support" for his second term against Kerry!

That's some opposition!

All of the above makes Mr. Van Auken's article a prime candidate for my column this week.

In solidarity,
Valentin Zorin,

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