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Tom Isern
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Washington Post

Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 06/14/2006

Parsing the Polls: A Zarqawi Bounce for Bush?

It's been a rough spring for Republicans. For months, they have been looking for an upward bounce in public approval ratings regarding how President Bush and the GOP in general are managing the war in Iraq.


It's been thin gruel for most of that time, but the death of terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi on June 7 prompted speculation in GOP ranks that public attitude about the war is at a turning point.


Two polls that went into the field immediately following news of Zarqawi's death have been released this week -- one conducted by USA Today/Gallup and the other by CBS News.


The surveys show that while voters believe that catching Zarqawi was a major accomplishment for the United States and our Iraqi allies, it has not fundamentally altered their opinion of President Bush, the war in Iraq or other major issues of the day. The polls show that Bush made some gains in voters' perceptions about hot issues of the day, but a majority of American still disapprove of how he is handling almost every one of their top concerns. There is some good news for the president in the polls, however, as more people believe that the war in Iraq is now winnable, although majorities still don't believe it was worth fighting to begin with.

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I was not unhappy to see the end of Zarqawi but what I objected to was how the president characterized the outcome. He has repeatedly said that Zarqawi was "brought to justice". Well, in my book, this phrase means being brought before a court and dealt with with due process. That is not how Zarqawi was dealt with. He was taken out in a high-tech operation using lazer-guided bombs and accurate intelligence.


This is typical of Bush. He twists the language and expects people to buy it. Unfortunately few people in a position to call him on this such as other American politicians or journalists do so. Foreign journalists are a little more reliable. I heard one characterize Zarqawi's death as "murder" and while that is certainly debatable it at least comes closer to the reality.

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Guest zipperzone

>Unfortunately few people in a position to

>call him on this such as other American politicians or

>journalists do so.


That's understandable. Standing up to him will land them on the shit list which will block access to any further interviews, or the opportunity to attend any press conferances. What a clever way to censor the press without actually doing so.

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RE: Zarqawi: "Turning Point"


The recent kidnapping and barbaric killing of two U.S. soldiers in Iraq should be a wake-up call to Americans who consider Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's death to be a turning point and good news for the Bush administration.


There will be no turning point, but rather an endless cycle of violence and bloodshed until U.S. soldiers return home and Iraqis learn to reconcile their extreme elements with their moderate elements and carry on as their own society.


The question is not whether we can win the war on terrorism if we stay -- we cannot. The question is: When will we bring our military home or put it to serve a worthwhile cause? Soldiers will die at alarmingly high rates until the Bush administration decides to do so. Until then, every day means more American and Iraqi blood on President Bush's hands. The recent killings should serve as a reminder.

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