Right message, wrong response

On Iraq, Bush says he has already delivered the change the voters demanded.

Published April 24, 2007 4:10PM (EDT)

Democrats took control of the House and the Senate in November on a wave of antiwar sentiment, and the latest polls show that at least a plurality of Americans agree with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's claim that the war in Iraq is a lost cause.

So is the president ignoring the will of the people when he pushes ahead with his "surge" and vows to veto any legislation even suggesting a timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq?

No, sirree. Just ask him.

"Last November," the president said today, "the American people said they were frustrated and wanted change in our strategy in Iraq. I listened. Today, General David Petraeus is carrying out a strategy that is dramatically different from our previous course."

Reality check No. 1: Just before the November elections, pollsters for CBS News asked Americans about U.S. troops in Iraq. Sixteen percent said "send more." Fifty percent said bring some or all of them home.

Reality check No. 2: Three months into the selling of the surge, the numbers aren't looking much better. While 21 percent of Americans now say the United States should send more troops to Iraq, 60 percent say that some or all of the troops should come home now.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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