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Poll shows Americans' views on Iraq war
( 2003-11-14 10:02) (AP)

More than half of Americans say U.S. President Bush decided to go to war on Iraq based on faulty assumptions, says a poll released Thursday.

An overwhelming majority of those polled 87 percent said the Bush administration portrayed Iraq as an imminent threat before the war. About as many, 84 percent, say the United States has not found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, according to the poll for the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland.

Six in 10 say that before going to war, the U.S. government should have taken more time to find out if Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Troops have found little evidence to validate most of the Bush administration's assertions before the war that Iraq had an active chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs.

The 55 percent of the public that believes the war was based on faulty assumptions about Iraq are divided on whether the president knew the assumptions were false, according to the poll conducted by Knowledge Networks.

Despite these doubts, a majority, 57 percent, said the United States made the right decision going to war against Iraq down from 68 percent who felt that way in May.

Three-fourths said the United States has a responsibility to stay in Iraq as long as necessary until there is a stable government.

More than half, 52 percent, said this country has found clear evidence that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein  was working closely with the al-Qaida terrorist organization. U.S. authorities searching Iraq, however, have found little that would suggest widespread prewar links between al-Qaida and the government of Saddam Hussein.

As Bush faces continuing questions about the Iraq war and reconstruction, public support for his handling of the campaign against terror had dropped from 66 percent in July to 56 percent now, according to an NBC-Wall Street Journal poll out Thursday.

Only 50 percent in a CBS News poll out Thursday said removing Saddam Hussein was worth the loss of American lives and other costs of attacking Iraq, while 43 percent said it wasn't.

The PIPA poll of 1,008 adults was taken Oct. 29-Nov. 10 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

 
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