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.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Scouts' Decision on Gays Meets Acceptance in Founder's Hometown

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs