08 March 2006

Our governments must win us over first

The US ambassador to Baghdad, Zalmay Khalilzad (pictured), finally conceded yesterday that the rise of religious extremists in Iraq "would make Taliban Afghanistan look like child's play". Khalilzad told the LA Times that "we have opened the Pandora's box and the question is, what is the way forward?". Well being honest with the public is a good start. An opinion poll published by the Washington Post and ABC News yesterday revealed that four out of five Americans believe civil war in Iraq is likely. Unfortunately, Donald Rumsfeld responded by saying that reports of sectarian violence had been exaggerated by the media and General Peter Pace, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, claimed that "attacks are now down compared to last year". If anything the attacks have been downplayed by an American media that, until very recently, was seemingly terrified of questioning the administration's decision to go to war. While the fact that both the UK and US government's lied about weapons of mass destruction was the subject of public outrage in Britain, in America it seemed widely overlooked - as though it were merely a 'side'-issue'. Until their own people begin to trust them how can the two governments even begin to "win the hearts and minds" of the Iraqi people?

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