Most Americans say Bush was too eager for war in Iraq

Published: Tuesday September 4, 2007

Nearly two-thirds of Americans feel President George W. Bush was too eager to wage war in Iraq and is handling the conflict there badly, a poll released Tuesday suggested.

The result marked a turn-around from a survey that asked the same question four years ago, immediately after the US-led war began.

Sixty-one percent of nearly 2,700 US adults surveyed online over one week last month by the Harris Poll group said they felt Bush was "too eager" when he sent US troops into Iraq in March 2003, while only 26 percent perceived the president as "not too eager" to go to war.

In May 2003, two months after the start of the conflict, only 43 percent of Americans said Bush had gone into war too eagerly, and half said he was not overly zealous about going to battle, according to the Harris group.

The poll released Tuesday, as General David Petraeus and US ambassador to Baghdad Ryan Crocker prepared to present a report to Congress on Iraq, also showed that two-thirds of Americans gave Bush bad marks for his handling of the conflict over the past few months.

That was more than double the 32 percent who judged the president's handling of Iraq negatively in April 2003, when US troops entered Baghdad and ousted the regime of Saddam Hussein, according to statistics supplied by Harris.