September 10th, 2007
06:00 PM ET
11 years ago

Petraeus is a tough sell for Americans

Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker testified before Congress Monday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Do Americans trust the top U.S. military commander in Iraq to report what’s really going on in Iraq without making the situation sound better than it is?CNN and the Opinion Research Corporation asked Americans that very question last month. The answer? 53 percent do not.

The USA Today-Gallup poll just asked the public again this month whether they thoughtGen. Petraeus's report would be independent and objective. Again, 53 percent did not.

The public is skeptical.

Petraeus sought to convince Congress Monday that the situation in Iraq is improving. He has some well known supporters of the surge echoing his sentiments. “In a short period of time, we have seen significant success,” said Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who’s also a Republican candidate for president.

The public is skeptical of that, too.

Asked whether the troop increase is succeeding in improving conditions and ending violence in Iraq, most Americans say it's not in a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Monday. At the joint House Armed Services and Foreign RelationsCommittees hearing, Petraeus reported some military progress. “To summarize, the security situation in Iraq is improving,” Petraeus testified.

But few see much political progress by the Iraqi government.

"To us, it just hinges on the government doing what the government is supposed to do and that is finding a way to get a sense of an agreement that they will stop the killing and stop the ethnic violence,” said retired Marine Gen. Jim Jones, chairman of the Independent Commission on the Security Forces of Iraq.

Last month, Americans were divided over whether the U.S. military is making progress in improving conditions and ending violence in Iraq (47 percent said yes, 49 percent said no). But their judgment of the Iraqi government was much harsher (69 percent saw no progress on the part of the Iraqis).

The current USA Today-Gallup poll finds the same thing: people feel the U.S. is not putting enough emphasis on finding a political solution in Iraq.

"The reason for the surge was promoted by the president and by Gen. Petraeus as creating the space for political settlements in Iraq, which have not only not happened, but we've even seen steps backward,” Rep. Janice Schakowky, D-Illinois, said.

Americans see the situation in Iraq as a political failure much more than a military failure.The U.S. military is doing its job, they feel. The Iraqi government is not.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll of 1,017 adult Americans was taken between Sept. 7-9 and has a margin of error is plus or minus three percentage points.

- CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider

Filed under: Iraq
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. therealist

    "Patraeus a tough sell for Americans"

    Screams CNN headlines, as they too rally to the Democrats battle cry. Character assassination of an American war hero is their method. Politicial power is their goal. And its more important to them than all the freedoms of the oppressed..

    September 11, 2007 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  2. Bill W, Coatesville, PA

    Well, let's see – We've been lied to by the president, the vice president, and the attorney general of the United States. The entire premise for the war was wrong. Our lawmakers recently tried to sell US ports to an Arab owned and operated company. There is no border patrol. We have 2,500 illegal aliens a day crossing the border. We've been gouged for gas and oil for the past several years. They still haven't cleaned up or helped people in New Orleans from a hurricane over 2 years ago. Voting machines in our last election were tampered with. It goes on and on.

    Why would the American people not trust anything that comes out of this administration? You tell me.

    September 11, 2007 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  3. Jason, Austin, Texas

    Pour le monde, pas pour la guerre.

    September 11, 2007 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  4. Chuck, Pollock Pines, California

    I find Gen. Petraeus to be credible and highly competent. That's not to say I believe that he presented a politically objective viewpoint - he did not, but that's not his job. His mission in Iraq is to carryout orders from his chain-of-command, and he's doing it splendidly. The problem is, the mission assigned to him is flawed, like the Commander-in-Chief.

    September 11, 2007 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  5. Tim, Orlando, FL

    Your article in regards to Gen.Petraeus being a mouthpiece for President Bush strikes me funny. This is like the pot calling the kettle black. Cnn, aren't you the mouthpiece for the Left Wing Socialist Democratic Party? You should stick to reporting the news which is something you have gotten away from.

    September 11, 2007 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  6. AJ; Montpelier, VT

    Petraeus is another Bush lapdog. And for those of you who dont like what CNN has to say, stop watching and reading. Turn to Fox instead, they will give you the news as you like it.

    September 12, 2007 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  7. Ron Nebraska

    I'm curious if Petraeus was one of the miliotary peoplr feeding ( making up?) numbers of Iraqi troops ready to go during the 2004 election. I seem to remember Bush saying over and over at that time there were 250,000 Iraqi troops completing training and ready to go. That was one of the lies that you poor simpletons bought at that time to justify voting for that criminal moron.

    September 12, 2007 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
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