--should the President want to understand why the Shiites have shown so little receptivity to his version of democracy, he need only go back to his father's presidency. On February 15, 1991, the first President Bush called on the Iraqi people and military to overthrow Saddam Hussein. The Shiites made the mistake of believing he meant it. Three days after the first Gulf War ended, on March 2, 1991, a Shiite rebellion began in Basra and quickly spread to the southern reaches of Baghdad. Then Saddam counterattacked with great ferocity. Three hundred thousand Shiites ultimately died. Not only did the elder President Bush not help, his administration refused even to hear the pleas of the more and more desperate Shiites. While the elder Bush's behavior may have many explanations, no Shiite I know of sees it as anything other than a calculated plan to have them slaughtered. By contrast, Iran, which backed SCIRI and Dawa and equipped the Badr Brigade, has long been seen as a reliable friend.
Mightn't a better indicator be longer-term patterns?
Military planners have abandoned the idea that standing up Iraqi troops will enable American soldiers to start coming home soon and now believe that U.S. troops will have to defeat the insurgents and secure control of troubled provinces.
"As the Democrat-controlled Congress and the White House clash over an Iraq spending bill, with President Bush vowing to veto it because it contains withdrawal deadlines, the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll [PDF] finds that a solid majority of Americans side with the Democrats."
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