Angus Reid Global Scan / CBS, New York Times – 2005-12-09 08:58:00
American Majority Says Government Misled on Iraq
Angus Reid Global Scan
(December 9, 2005) – Many adults in the United States continue to question their government’s rationale to launch the coalition effort in Iraq, according to a poll by the New York Times and CBS News. 52 percent of respondents believe members of the Bush administration intentionally misled the public in making the case for war.
The coalition effort against Saddam Hussein’s regime was launched in March 2003. At least 2,134 American soldiers have died during the military operation, and more than 15,900 troops have been injured.
Pre-war speeches by US president George W. Bush mentioned specific chemical agents, such as mustard gas, sarin and VX nerve gas as banned substances allegedly secured by Iraq. State secretary Colin Powell assured the United Nations (UN) Security Council in February 2003 that Hussein possessed biological weapons.
The final report of the Iraq Survey Group — presented to the US Congress on Sept. 30, 2004 — concluded that Hussein’s regime did not possess chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, and had not implemented a significant program for their development.
On Nov. 14, Bush dismissed recent criticism of his decision to launch military action in Iraq, saying, “Reasonable people can disagree about the conduct of the war, but it is irresponsible for Democrats to now claim that we misled them and the American people.
“Leaders in my administration and members of the United States Congress from both political parties looked at the same intelligence on Iraq, and reached the same conclusion: Saddam Hussein was a threat.”
56 percent of respondents believe it is very important for members of Congress to question the way the Bush administration used intelligence before the war.
As far as possible reasons behind the decision to launch military action, 17 percent of respondents say the government wanted to protect oil interests, while 15 percent cite the threat of terrorism, and 13 percent believe the current president wanted to finish what his father started in the 1991 Gulf War.
In making its case for the war with Iraq, do you think members of the Bush administration intentionally misled the public or not?
• Intentionally misled — 52%
• Did not — 44%
• Not sure — 4%
How important do you think it is right now for members of Congress to question the Bush administration about the way the intelligence was used in order to make the case for going to war in Iraq?
• Very important — 56%
• Somewhat important — 24%
• Not too important — 9%
Not important at all — 9%
• Not sure — 2%
Why do you think the Bush Administration decided to go to war against Iraq?
• Protect our oil interests — 17%
• Protect US from terrorists — 15%
• Finish what father started — 13%
• To get Saddam Hussein — 10%
• Protect US from WMDs — 9%
• Because of Sept. 11 — 8%
• Protect country in general — 4%
• Promote democracy / peace — 2%
• Cheney / Rumsfeld / Rice / Other — 2%
• Other — 9%
• Not sure — 11%
Source: The New York Times / CBS News
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,155 American adults, conducted from Dec. 2 to Dec. 6, 2005. Margin of error is 3 percent.