Poll finds Iraqis feel more optimistic

March 15, 2009 5:32:44 PM PDT
As the situation in Afghanistan deteriorates there is reason for hope in Iraq, just days before the sixth anniversary of the U.S. invasion.

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A new ABC News poll finds 84 percent of Iraqis now believe security is good where they live. That number is double what it was in 2007. But, the situation is far from resolved.

The poll found that many Iraqis feel more optimistic about their lives six years after the war began. On Sunday former Vice President Dick Cheney said he believes the war has been a success and that the current administration is putting the country at risk of another terrorist attack.

This week will mark the sixth anniversary of the war in Iraq. How much of a success or failure the mission has been depends on who you ask.

Cheney Sunday would not say it is mission accomplished, but he did tell CNN that the Bush administration accomplished nearly everything it set out to do in Iraq.

"We have succeeded in creating, in the heart of the Middle East, a democratically-governed Iraq," he said.

He also said President Barack Obama has made America less safe by overturning Bush terrorism-fighting policies.

"President Obama campaigned against it all across the country and now he's making some choices that in my mind, will in fact raise the risk of the American people for another attack," he said.

Not everyone agrees, including University of San Francisco Professor Patrick Hatcher, who said, "If you talk about the overall decisions in Iraq, so many of them were disasters that I would disagree with Vice President Cheney."

Hatcher says the war has been one of the saddest chapters in American history, from casualties on both sides to the destruction of infrastructure.

"This war has been devastating to things like bridges, roads, buildings, sewage treatment plants, schools, hospitals... All that has to be rebuilt," he said.

For many Iraqis, the fall of a dictator, a new constitution and the freedom to vote in elections mean a more promising future. A new ABC poll shows that 57 percent of Iraqis say it is now safe for displaced people to return to the country.

"They say it is better, but not that much as the media show," said Iraqi immigrant Kays Hussain.

Hussain left his homeland 12 years ago. He still keeps in touch with relatives and friends there, who tell him life has improved.

"Some people, they can now go to hospitals instead of going outside of Iraq to be hospitalized. They start more and more jobs and this makes people more satisfied with the conditions there," he said.

People are more satisfied but they are also more uncertain.

President Obama wants to withdraw all combat troops from the country by fall of 2010.

"One day they will go out of Iraq. They can't stay forever," said Hussain.

On Sunday Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said he told President Obama that any troop withdrawals must be done with approval of the Iraqi government, and that U.S. troops will not be pulled from any areas that are at risk for more attacks once they have left.

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