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Saturday, June 19, 2004

The worst possible news from Iraq would of course be the outbreak of a fully-fledged uprising. The second worst is the loss of Iraqi support for the occupation, which of course would be a necessary condition for such an uprising. It seems this has happened. According to these polls Norm links to the balance in Iraqi opinion is now on equal footing for those in favour of an immediate coalition pullout, and those who want the coalition to remain until a proper Iraqi government is in place. While this is not a clear majority against our troop presence, this is very serious. Opinion could tip further to the coalition's disadvantage, thus making the task in Iraq ever harder. On balance I think we can still tip this back, but it’s going to be tougher.
Additionally the Abu Ghraib torture affair looks set to return. Christopher Hitchen's has some more on this, and also makes a few good points against torture, as does this piece.
This is all the more irritating to me, because the past weeks I have been feeling optimistic about Iraq. I'm not entirely sure why. Was it was because of Bush's speech, the fading of the torture scandal, a cooling down of the fighting, the UN resolution, the reformation of Iraqi interim government or the approaching June 30 and its first handover of partial sovereignty to Iraqis? There were certainly reasons to feel upbeat, but this sobers the mood a little again.

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