Poll: Baghdad Residents Want U.S. Soldiers to Stay

Poll: Baghdad Residents Want U.S. Soldiers to Stay

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John Daley reportingWith U.S. soldiers dying every week in Iraq, it's hard for many Americans to assess just how the nation-building effort is going.

Two Utahns who just returned from Iraq say positive developments are taking place. The challenge is sorting through what seems like conflicting information.

On one hand, undeniably, there is on-going violence. On the other, there are stories of progress and even a new poll showing a solid majority of Baghdad residents would like to see U.S. troops stay longer than a few months.

Three U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq Monday. But violence isn't the only thing happening there according to two men who just got back after helping to set up new prisons, rebuilding what were old torture chambers.

Gary DeLand/ Iraqi Prison Advisor: "People are right back at it. They're farming. They're running their stores. The traffic is brutal almost. There's a ton of people on the street, so you're seeing a major transformation almost."

Gary DeLand and Lane McCotter explained on KSL Radio that it's not an overnight transformation, but they did see progress.

Gary DeLand: "The thing that I heard constantly, and I know it was the same for other people around, was not go home, but please don't leave.. fear that we were going to leave."

A new poll done by the Gallup organization in Baghdad shows 71 percent of residents in the capital city feel U.S. troops should NOT leave in the next few months.

26 percent felt the troops should leave that soon.

Baghdad residents said most U.S. troops have behaved well.
10% said very well.
48% percent said fairly well.
20% said fairly badly...
and 9% said very badly.

Utahns we spoke with say they think Americans are getting a fairly balanced picture of a very mixed situation.

Janean Johnson/ Midvale Resident: "Last I checked they were going pretty good, I think. Things were looking up."

Adam Johnson/ Midvale Resident: "I think there's probably a lot more positive things coming out of this than we see."

Rick Hansen/ Draper Resident: "It's probably just a running war. I mean, it just depends on how you look at things."

Kris Nielson says he has friends in the military who just returned from Iraq.

Kris Nielson/ Salt Lake City Resident: "Things are going well for the people in Iraq more so than our troops are doing there."

Officials with the Gallup Poll say they plan to do further polling in Baghdad in the coming months. And they hope to expand their polling throughout Iraq in the future.

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