News

Bush Seeks to Turn US Opinion on Iraq

George W. Bush
President Bush is urging Americans to be patient and to persevere in Iraq despite opinion polls that suggest public support for the effort there is slipping. Political analysts and historians say turning around public opinion is often difficult.

In his Tuesday speech, the president sought to reassure Americans who appear to be increasingly concerned about the violent images from Iraq they see daily on their television screens.

"Amid all this violence, I know Americans ask the question, is the sacrifice worth it? It is worth it and it is vital to the future security of our country," reassured president Bush.

The president said Iraq is the central battlefield in the war on terrorism and says the terrorists will succeed there only if Americans forget the lessons of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Many opposition Democrats say they remain committed to the mission in Iraq but want the president to send in more troops to fight the insurgents and speed up the timetable for training Iraqi security forces.

Democratic Senator Joe Biden of Delaware, speaking on ABC's Good Morning America  program, said, "We must succeed. He has to change the course. He has to get more folks involved. He has to stand up that (Iraqi) army much quicker and he has to train an officer corps. All of this is only now beginning to be done and we are way behind the curve."

Some members of the president's own Republican Party have expressed recent concerns about Iraq and the opinion polls that show decreasing support at home.

Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas is hopeful that the president made some headway with his speech in reassuring Americans.

"We are on the cusp of beginning to show people in the Middle East, throughout the Middle East, that self-governance is something that all people can achieve," she said.

Political analysts and historians say U.S. presidents traditionally have had a difficult task in moving public opinion, especially during wartime.

"The president has a tough task. He has got to try to turn around this ocean liner of public opinion in a very, very small pond," said Larry Sabato, a political expert at the University of Virginia.

Another expert, Ohio State political science professor John Mueller, says it is difficult for the administration's message of patience on Iraq to compete with the daily news images of violence there.

"Presidents have often not been very successful at moving public opinion one way or the other," he said. "Actions frequently do it, but not rhetoric. And there is a reality in Iraq that people are becoming increasingly aware of and increasingly concerned about."

Given the daunting task of turning around public opinion, some historians say the president may have to persevere in Iraq without the luxury of overwhelming public support for sometime to come.

"I would say in the near term, see if you can get Americans to feel better about Iraq and basically console yourself with the fact that 30 years from now historians often times look at a presidency very differently," said presidential historian and author Michael Beschloss, speaking on NBC's Today  program. "Bush often says what I care about is 30 years from now whether Americans say Iraq was the right thing to do."

While several recent polls show declining support for the president's handling of Iraq, most indicate that a majority of Americans still back Mr. Bush's overall handling of the war on terror.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs