Thursday, March 18, 2004

Playing loose with the facts 

Josh Marshall accuses Richard Perle of dismissing facts when he doesn't agree with them. The problem is, in the very same post, Marshall does the exact same thing himself.

Last night Richard Perle was on Chris Matthews Hardball show and Matthews pressed him on the results of the new Pew poll which appears to show a rising tide of anti-Americanism in Arab states that are at least nominally allied with the United States.
The Pew poll (large pdf) shows no such "rising tide of anti-Americanism." Far from it. The poll shows a marked decline since just ten months ago in the "very unfavorable" view of the United States.

Here are the percentages that hold a "very unfavorable" view of the U.S. in the four Muslim countries included in the poll.

Turkey: May 03 - 68%. March 04 - 45%. (Decrease of 23%)
Pakistan: May 03 - 71%. March 04 - 50%. (Decrease of 21%)
Jordan: May 03 - 83%. March 04 - 67%. (Decrease of 16%)
Morocco: May 03 - 46%. March 04 - 46%. (Unchanged)

A decrease is not "a rising tide." Of course, the unfavorable numbers are much higher than we would like. But they are declining. (Two-thirds or more of the people in Jordan and Morocco hold unfavorable views of the United Nations, as well.)

Interestingly, a majority of the respondents in those four countries believe the world would be more dangerous if another country were as powerful as the U.S. In fact, France is the only country in the survey where respondents think the world would be safer if U.S. power were matched by another country.

Finally, the frightening part: Majorities in Pakistan and Jordan, and a plurality in Morocco, hold a favorable view of Osama bin Laden.

See "Dueling Crackdowns" below for an idea of what that means to the future of the Middle East.
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