American Public Sours on U.S. Iraq Strategy

With poll numbers showing Americans increasingly sour about the war in the Iraq, we asked people on the street what they think of the war, the President's handling of it, and the recent report by the Iraq Study Group.

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MICHELE NORRIS, host:

That uncertainty in Iraq is helping to make many Americans uneasy about the war. A number of polls out today show that people are growing more pessimistic.

NOAH ADAMS, host:

A Washington Post/ABC poll shows that 70 percent of those surveyed say they disapprove of how President Bush is handling the war. Sixty percent say it should not have been fought in the first place.

NORRIS: Sixty-two percent of people polled by CBS say that the situation in Iraq is getting worse. Fifty-three percent don't think it's likely that the U.S. will succeed, and a U.S.A. Today Gallop survey found that 55 percent want U.S. troops out of Iraq within a year but only 18 percent believe that will happen.

ADAMS: We collected some opinions from people about the war, the report of the Iraq Study Group and the president's performance. Here are some voices from western Massachusetts, from Laramie, Wyoming, and from Knoxville, Tennessee.

Ms. ANDY RAY(ph): Andy Ray. I own a ladies clothing store called Vagabondia on Market Square. I think he needs to be reaching out to talk to Syria and other nations instead of cutting them off and isolating them, and I think he needs to do better about working with people with military background. And do better about just including people and listening to what they're saying instead of being stubborn and being absolutely certain that he's right.

Mr. JOHN WHETSTONE: John Whetstone, 30 years old and a business owner. I mean, I think some things could be different, but I think for the most part he's doing an okay job. From what I understand, I think that we're still doing a pretty good job over there and yeah, that we're still for the most part fighting terrorism but yeah, I think that the country's probably pretty close to a civil war as well, so I think that it's a fine line that we're walking over there.

Ms. BETH NEWTON: It's Beth Newton. I work for the East Tennessee Foundation. I appreciate that he's seeking the advice of people who have experience in international matters like Baker and I think that that's a wise move, and that he's starting to listen to others, which is going to be good for our country. I do have hope. I think that's sort of the only way to go forward and I'm hoping that we can do some good in that country before we ultimately get out of there.

Ms. BRANDON DAUGHTERY SLOCUM: Brandon Daughtery Slocum. I think some good people are honestly trying to assess the situation and find a way out. A way to make it better. We're in the middle of a civil war in Iraq and a civil war that we pretty much brought about.

Ms. ANNA REMA DIAL: Anna Rema Dial. I'm a program associate with the Berkshire Bank Foundation of the Pioneer Valley. I don't approve of how President Bush has handled foreign policy in general, specifically when it comes to the Iraq war. I think he needs to take a more multinational approach.

Mr. TYRONE SCOTT: Tyrone Scott. I'm actually a consultant. At this point, I think that because of some decisions that were made early on that we're kind of stuck. Looking back on it, hindsight's 20/20, I think we probably shouldn't have been in the war but now that we're there I don't see how we can feasibly pull out of the war. I would like for us to get out of there when it makes sense. I don't want us to pull out and then, as soon as we pull out, something catastrophic happens.

Ms. THERESA CARLS: Theresa Carls. I think maybe it's time for the guys to come back. I don't know, you know, but because they went there and they weren't supposed to stay that long, but things got out of hand and that's what happened, you know? I don't think we should have been there in the first place, so that's my opinion. I mean, I've always thought that.

NORRIS: Opinions on the war in Iraq from western Massachusetts, Knoxville, Tennessee, and Laramie, Wyoming.

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