How's the War in Iraq Going?


Some two weeks into the war against Iraq, BusinessWeek Online readers

remained very optimistic that the U.S. will win, but they're unsure or

skeptical that it would achieve the key objectives set forth by President

George W. Bush at the outset of the conflict. Those are the primary findings from a Mar. 27 BusinessWeek Online Reader Survey.

Of the nearly 800 readers who participated, 14% of whom were from outside the U.S., some 81% said the U.S. is somewhat or very likely to win the war, vs. 13% who said it's somewhat unlikely or not likely at all.

Readers felt that way even though 65% thought that, to date, the war had

gone not as well as expected or not well at all. They seemed to place the

responsibility for that on the war's planners -- the President, Defense

Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and top generals: 62% said their performance had

been worse or much worse than expected, vs. the 18% who felt it was better

or much better than expected.

SPLIT ON WEAPONS. Generally, readers felt that soldiers on both sides are performing well: 46% said U.S. troops are doing only about as well as expected, vs. the 33% who thought they're doing better or much better than expected. But that's likely because those who participated in the survey had high expectations of U.S. troops. Asked simply how American soldiers are performing, 59% said

extremely well or very well.

Respondents are skeptical, however, over whether victory in Iraq will achieve the President's aims. They were evenly divided on the question of how likely it is that the U.S. will uncover weapons of mass destruction in Iraq: 41% think that's somewhat or very likely, vs. 41% who think it's somewhat or very unlikely.

Similarly, 58% think it's somewhat or very unlikely that the Iraqi people

ultimately will regard the U.S. as their liberator, vs. the 29% who think

that's somewhat or very likely.

DEMOCRACY? UNLIKELY. Some 61% of those who participated think it's somewhat or very unlikely that by toppling Saddam Hussein's regime the U.S. will head off terrorist attacks at home, vs. the 28% who think that's somewhat or very likely.

And 67% thought it not very likely or not likely at all that a U.S. victory

in Iraq will pave the way for the spread of democracy throughout the Middle

and Far East, vs. the 20% who view that as very or somewhat likely.

Asked how personally committed they are to the goals of the war as

articulated by the Bush Administration, 41% said they are somewhat or very

committed, vs. 50% who said they are not very committed, or not committed at all.

Here are the full results of the survey, which as usual isn't scientific

since anyone who wished to could participate:

How would you say the war has gone to date, from the U.S. perspective?

Option

Total

%

Much better than expected

34

4.39 %

Better than expected

88

11.35 %

Neither better nor worse than expected

152

19.61 %

Not as well as expected

269

34.71 %

Not well at all

226

29.16 %

Don't know

6

0.77 %

How would you describe the performance of U.S. troops in battle?

Option

Total

%

Much better than expected

105

13.58 %

Better than expected

148

19.15 %

Neither better nor worse than expected

356

46.05 %

Worse than expected

96

12.42 %

Much worse than expected

49

6.34 %

Don't know

19

2.46 %

Overall, how would you say U.S. troops are performing?

Option

Total

%

Extremely well

214

27.76 %

Very well

242

31.39 %

As well as not

157

20.36 %

Not very well

83

10.77 %

Not well at all

56

7.26 %

Don't know

19

2.46 %

How would you describe the performance of the Iraqi troops in battle?

Option

Total

%

Much better than expected

188

24.45 %

Better than expected

312

40.57 %

Neither better nor worse than expected

196

25.49 %

Worse than expected

29

3.77 %

Much worse than expected

24

3.12 %

Don't know

20

2.60 %

How would you describe the performance to date of the war's planners (President Bush, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, and the nation's top generals) in coming up with a good battle strategy?

Option

Total

%

Much better than expected

50

6.48 %

Better than expected

88

11.4 %

Neither better nor worse than expected

148

19.17 %

Worse than expected

178

23.06 %

Much worse than expected

299

38.73 %

Don't know

9

1.17 %

At this point, how likely do you think it is that U.S. forces will uncover or be exposed to Iraqi weapons of mass destruction?

Option

Total

%

Very likely

162

20.96 %

Somewhat likely

160

20.7 %

As likely as not

116

15.01 %

Somewhat unlikely

153

19.79 %

Very unlikely

161

20.83 %

Don't know

21

2.72 %

At this point, how likely do you think it is that the Iraqi people ultimately will regard the U.S. as their liberator?

Option

Total

%

Very likely

78

10.05 %

Somewhat likely

146

18.81 %

As likely as not

95

12.24 %

Somewhat unlikely

117

15.08 %

Very unlikely

333

42.91 %

Don't know

7

0.90 %

At this point, how likely do you think it is that by toppling Saddam Hussein's regime, the U.S. will head off terrorist attacks at home?

Option

Total

%

Very likely

122

15.78 %

Somewhat likely

98

12.68 %

As likely as not

73

9.44 %

Somewhat unlikely

82

10.61 %

Very unlikely

388

50.19 %

Don't know

10

1.29 %

According to some theories, a U.S. victory in Iraq will pave the way for the spread or imposition of democracy throughout the Middle and Far East. At the moment, would you say that this is:

Option

Total

%

Very likely

39

5.05 %

Somewhat likely

116

15.01 %

Neither more nor less likely

95

12.29 %

Not very likely

191

24.71 %

Not likely at all

326

42.17 %

Don't know

6

0.78 %

How likely do you think it is that the U.S. will win in Iraq?

Option

Total

%

Very likely

479

61.97 %

Somewhat likely

144

18.63 %

Neither more nor less likely

45

5.82 %

Somewhat unlikely

52

6.73 %

Not likely at all

45

5.82 %

Don't know

8

1.03 %

How committed would you say you are personally to the goals of the war as articulated by the Bush Administration?

Option

Total

%

Very committed

225

29.22 %

Somewhat committed

93

12.08 %

As committed as not

59

7.66 %

Not very committed

80

10.39 %

Not committed at all

305

39.61 %

Don't know

8

1.04 %

Where do you live?

Option

Total

%

Northeast

191

24.61 %

Midwest

128

16.49 %

South

120

15.46 %

Southwest

74

9.54 %

West

155

19.97 %

Outside the U.S.

108

13.92 %


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