But waitaminnit... How about this older poll?
Sixty-nine percent in a Washington Post poll published Saturday said they believe it is likely the Iraqi leader was personally involved in the attacks carried out by al-Qaeda. [...] The belief in the connection persists even though there has been no proof of a link between the two.
So let's see here. Are the American people wise and deliberative, perceiving geopolitical matters with a clarity unmatched by the Bush administration... or ignorant sheep, easily led by same? Or have they just been studying up since 2003? Gosh, I need a program.
UPDATE: With a tip o' the hat to Belmont Club, here's Secretary Rumsfeld speaking about the fears of civil war in the aftermath of the destruction of the Golden Mosque:
From what I've seen thus far, much of the reporting in the U.S. and abroad has exaggerated the situation, according to General Casey. The number of attacks on mosques, as he pointed out, had been exaggerated. The number of Iraqi deaths had been exaggerated. The behavior of the Iraqi security forces had been mischaracterized in some instances. And I guess that is to say nothing of the apparently inaccurate and harmful reports of U.S. military conduct in connection with a bus filled with passengers in Iraq.
Interestingly, all of the exaggerations seem to be on one side. It isn't as though there simply have been a series of random errors on both sides of issues. On the contrary, the steady stream of errors all seem to be of a nature to inflame the situation and to give heart to the terrorists and to discourage those who hope for success in Iraq.
And then I notice today that there's been a public opinion poll reporting that the readers of these exaggerations believe Iraq is in a civil war -- a majority do, which I suppose is little wonder that the reports we've seen have had that effect on the American people.
The above obviously supports my point - that there's an agenda being set, and news is being shaped to fit it. Secretary Rumsfeld strongly implies later in the press conference from which the above is taken, though, that the agenda-setting is not necessarily (is not even probably) on the part of the journalistic media - but rather is a disinformation campaign on the part of al Qaeda itself. I'm chastened to admit that even though I've been posting and commenting on this and similar subjects for a long time now (on this blog, only once recently - here), I neglected to consider that the press might be useful idiots.
Wretchard at Belmont believes, concerning the recent report that Iran's "signature" is on particularly deadly shaped charges being found in Iraq, that the news cycle will go thusly:
The 'Iraq is in a state of civil war' lead will continue to be emphasized but attacks may suddenly shift to American troops after a long period of being concentrated upon sectarian targets to create another theme: a Shi'ite insurgency. This plus a clamor to 'bring the boys home' may create a triple wave designed to entirely collapse public support for Operation Iraqi Freedom. The enemy may have failed to win the Sunni insurgency; been unable to plunge Iraq into civil war; proved incapable of stopping the formation of a new Iraqi army and state. But none of that will matter if the three themes of 'ongoing civil war', a Shi'ite insurgency and the need to engage in headlong retreat are successfully promoted in "the capitals of the Western world".
And this, friends and neighbors, is why I get so frustrated at the continuing efforts on the Left to "gotcha" Bush: it's a bootless distraction from the matter of real import - that there is a segment of one of the largest religious populations in the world that is committed to our destruction. That segment is forced into asymmetric warfare with us at present and for the foreseeable future. But it's not necessary for them to win a war if they can win the peace, to borrow a phrase. How important is it that we, the West, either remain in control of or successfully integrate and inculcate our values into immigrating Muslims in the societies we presently dominate? Ask these people - except that you can't, because they're dead.