Many of us who opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq two years ago are uncertain about what to do now. We want U.S. troops to leave as soon as possible, but we dont want American withdrawal to be a selfish or cowardly act that makes matters worse. We wish to help the Iraqi people, not make their suffering greater.
The Iraqi people are telling us in no uncertain terms that they want American troops out. In early April tens of thousands of Iraqis demonstrated in Baghdad and other cities to demand U.S. military withdrawal. The political parties opposed to U.S. military involvement received the highest vote totals in the January elections in Iraq. An opinion poll at that time found almost 65 percent of Iraqis in favor of U.S. withdrawal "now" or after an "elected government is in place."
Large majorities of Iraqis - 69 percent of Shiites and 82 percent of Sunnis - want U.S. soldiers to get out of Iraq quickly, according to an Abu Dhabi TV/Zogby International poll earlier this year. Over half of Sunnis considered insurgent attacks to be a legitimate resistance to U.S. presence. This follows polling last year that showed that 71 percent of Iraqis considered U.S.-led forces "occupiers" rather than "liberators."
Americans also support a timeline for withdrawal. According to a bipartisan poll conducted in early April, 69 percent of Americans surveyed (including 62 percent of Republicans) agreed that "it is important that the Bush administration have a clear plan today for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq."