Support for U.S. policy in Iraq drops

Amid dramatically rising acts of violence in Iraq support for President George W. Bush's policies in Iraq continues to drop among one of the largest Arab-American communities in the United States, according to a new poll, says AP.

The survey of 503 Arab Americans in Michigan showed 77 percent giving Bush a "just fair" or "poor" rating for his handling of the Iraq war. Another 18 percent gave the president an "excellent" or "pretty good" rating and 5 percent were undecided or didn't know. The survey was conducted by EPIC/MRA in Lansing in June 13-22, with the results published in Monday editions of the Detroit Free Press.

A similar EPIC/MRA poll released in August 2004 showed nearly the same breakdown, with 77 percent voicing negative opinions on Bush's handling of the war, and 19 percent indicating positive opinions. Those numbers were down from a May 2003 survey in which 45 percent of roughly 500 Arab Americans said they had a positive view of Bush's handling of the war, and 55 percent negative.

The survey also found Arab Americans saying they continue to face problems with being profiled because of their appearance or background.

Asked how much profiling they face now compared to the period immediately after the 9/11 terror attacks, 40 percent said the level of profiling of people with Middle Eastern accents or features hasn’t changed. To another 15 percent it seemed to worsen, while 42 percent said things are better.

Imad Hamad, Detroit regional director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee claims, that the poll's results should not be used as an excuse for government discrimination. "Arab Americans are showing their goodwill," he said. "They're tired of being questioned about their patriotism."

Meanwhile, those who are worried about the situation in Iraq – not necessarily Arabs – will have to wait long for stability and peace in Iraq. Earlier U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said it may take as long as 12 years to defeat the insurgents. He said Iraq's security forces will have to finish the job because American and foreign troops will have left the country by then. Rumsfeld acknowledged that the insurgents' attacks "are more lethal than they had been previously; they're killing a lot more Iraqis." Rumsfeld also said the insurgency "could become more violent" in advance of a referendum on a new constitution and elections in December.

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