OBL's down in the polls
Osama bin Laden's standing has dropped significantly in some key Muslim countries, while support for suicide bombings and other acts of violence has "declined dramatically," according to a new survey released today.This is encouraging and, if it represents a trend, will more than justify the Iraqi adventure. Getting rid of Saddam was a great reason to go into Iraq; but the full program was the creation of change in the Middle East and the creation of hope for Muslims throughout the world.
In a striking finding, predominantly Muslim populations in a sampling of six North African, Middle East and Asian countries also shared to "a considerable degree" Western nations' concerns about Islamic extremism, the survey found. Many in those Muslim nations see it as threat to their own country, the poll found.
"Most Muslim publics are expressing less support for terrorism than in the past. Confidence in Osama bin Laden has declined markedly in some countries, and fewer believe suicide bombings that target civilians are justified in the defense of Islam," concluded the Pew Global Attitudes Project.
Compared with previous surveys, the new poll also found growing majorities or pluralities of Muslims surveyed now say democracy can work in their countries and is not just a political system for the West. Support for democracy was in the 80 percent range in Indonesia, Jordan, Lebanon and Morocco; in Pakistan and Turkey, where significant numbers of respondents were unsure, it rated 43 percent and 48 percent respectively.
The bad news for bin Laden is that this seems to be working. Better in some countries than others; but that is to be expected. Had the West done nothing these numbers would have kept OBL and his cult at the top of the charts in a Middle East entirely without hope.Middle East