Thu, Aug 24, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Majority in US see Iraq and terror wars as separate: survey

AFP , WASHINGTON

For the first time since it began, most US citizens believe the Iraq War is not part of the war on terrorism, as US President George W. Bush keeps insisting, a New York Times/CBS News poll published yesterday found.

Fifty-one percent of the 1,206 adults surveyed between Aug. 17 and Aug. 21 believed the two wars were separate, while 44 percent saw a link. In June the opinion was split evenly at 41 percent.

Going to war in the first place was considered a mistake by 53 percent, up from 48 percent last month; 62 percent said US efforts to stabilize Iraq were going badly; 65 percent were disappointed in how Bush was handling the situation.

And 46 precent said Bush had focused too much on Iraq and not enough on terrorists elsewhere, while 42 percent said the balance was about right.

Despite the warning the apparent rejection of the administration's Iraq policy sends to Republican lawmakers, Bush's job approval rating in the poll remained unchanged at 36 percent (57 percent disapprove) from last month.

A USA Today/Gallup Poll on Tuesday found Bush's approval rating had jumped five points to 42 percent following the arrest in Britain of 24 suspects in a foiled bomb plot against US-bound jetliners.

How Bush handled the war on terrorism met with the approval of 55 percent of respondents in the Times/CBS poll. In other key policy issues, such as the economy and foreign policy, Bush's disapproval rating neared the 60 percent mark.

The poll found that despite the recent Israel-Hezbollah ceasefire agreement, 70 percent of Americans believed that lasting peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors would never come, against 26 percent who said it would.

A majority of 56 percent said it was not the US government's business to broker a peace between Israel and its neighbors; 39 percent believed it was.

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