Information Warfare: Faith Versus Facts

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December 8, 2005: Differences of opinion about how well things are going in Iraq has created some strange situations. For example, many Americans, and most Europeans consider the Iraq war a disaster. Iraqis and American troops over there disagree. An October opinion survey in Iraq (conducted by the International Republican Institute) found that 47 percent of Iraqis believed their country was headed in the right direction, while 37 percent believed it was going in the wrong direction. Moreover, 56 percent believed that things would be better in six months, while only 16 percent believed things would be worse. American troops in Iraq are overwhelmingly positive about impact their operations are having on Iraq. But polls of American reporters shows that only about a third of them (probably including most of those who have been embedded with the troops) believe that, and only about a quarters of academics agree. In Europe, anti-Americanism has become the most popular indoor sport around. For many people, beliefs are more important than reality, and this applies very much to operations in Iraq.

Looking at this as a piece of history in the making, it's obvious that many books will be written trying to explain how the pessimists justified their departure from the facts on the ground. At this point in time, one can only conclude that politics, and political faith, does strange things to people.

 


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