UK Poll Shows Public at Odds With Reality of Iraq War
June 3, 2013
Alex Thomson / Channel 4 News & Jon Snow / Channel 4
The Iraq war saw the biggest-ever protest in the history of London -- the mother of all focus groups, you might say. We know from opinion polls before during and after the war that it was a historically unpopular enterprise for the Brits. Yet now comes a poll about perceptions of the war, which, notwithstanding the above, shows public perception wildly at odds with reality.
Manipulating Public Perceptions: Poll Shows Public at Odds With Reality of Iraq War
Alex Thomson / Channel 4 News
LONDON (May 31, 2013) -- The Iraq war saw the biggest-ever protest in the history of London -- the mother of all focus groups, you might say. We know from opinion polls before during and after the war that it was a historically unpopular enterprise for the Brits.
Yet now comes a poll about perceptions of the war, which, notwithstanding the above, shows public perception wildly at odds with reality.
By common consent the war cost at the very, very least, 100,000 Iraqi lives and the figure may well be several times that.
Yet the poll, by ComRes shows the following in establishing public perceptions of the Iraqi death toll since the invasion of Iraq in 2003:
• Two-thirds (66 percent) of the public estimate that 20,000 or fewer civilians and combatants have died as a consequence of the war in Iraq since 2003.
• One in 10 (10 percent) think that between 100,000 and 500,000 have died and one in 20 (6 percent) think that more than 500,000 have died.
• According to public estimates, the mean number of deaths in Iraq since the invasion is 189,530.
• Women in Britain are more likely to underestimate the number of deaths in Iraq since the invasion than men. Half (53 percent) of women think 5,000 or fewer deaths have occurred since the invasion compared to one-third (35 percent) of men.
Perhaps that last figure is the most startling -- a majority of women and more than a third of men polled say fewer than 5,000 deaths have occurred. That figure is so staggeringly, mind-blowingly at odds with reality as to leave a journalist who worked long and hard to bring home the reality of war, speechless.
If we believe the results, then war-makers in government will take great comfort, as will the generals who work so hard to peddle the lie of bloodless warfare, with all the cockpit video propaganda video news releases and talk of "collateral damage" instead of "dead children."
Equally -- questions for us on the media that after so much time, effort and money, the public perception of bloodshed remains stubbornly, wildly, wrong.
ComRes interviewed2021 British adults online between 24 and 27 May 2013. Data were weighted to be representative of all GB adults aged 18+. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council.
Where is Chilcot's Iraq Inquiry Report?
Jon Snow / Channel 4
LONDON (January 14, 2013) -- Where is the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war, four and a half years after it was established and two months short of the tenth anniversary of the invasion?
A million words in, the inquiry team has been withered by illness and exhaustion, not a little of which has been caused by the intransigence of the political machine to regurgitate the papers of the time.
The resistance to its completion and publication are reportedly the political classes who supported and led the war effort -- the very people most likely to be targeted by the inquiry findings. The fear is that the delays will become so protracted that the next election (2015) will be permitted to become yet another delaying force.
We don't hear much from Sir John Chilcot. When last heard from he indicated that sometime in 2013 those fingered by the inquiry would be shown the evidence and allowed to respond -- it doesn't sound like a speedy process. Whitehall was suggesting that the report might be published at the end of last year.
Now it's the end of this year and maybe later still.
The danger is that this awful episode -- what many regard as the worst UK foreign policy disaster since Suez -- will have happened so long ago, that those who will be seen as having been responsible will be allowed to slink off into the long grass of history.
Impact of Iraq
All over the Maghreb and the Middle East the world is paying the price for the decision to invade Iraq. Iraqi al-Qaeda are repeatedly being reported in Syria, fighting on the rebel side. And now they are at war in Mali.
Iraq itself is a chaotic entity, riven with division and corruption.
The south is an effective Iranian fiefdom. The Kurdish north is all but an independent oil state -- potentially one of the richest in modern times. The seasoned fighters, whether al-Qaeda or other, are wandering from Mauritania in the west, to Yemen, Afghanistan, and Pakistan in the east.
Why is the non-publication of potentially the most critical UK foreign policy inquiries of our generation such a low key issue?
A million people marched against the Iraq war before a shot was fired. Have they forgotten what drove them onto the streets?
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