According to a new poll, 59 percent of Iraqis reacted with "overwhelming joy" at the Dec. 13 capture of former dictator Saddam Hussein.
And 56 percent of Iraqis believe Saddam deserves to be executed after a fair trial.
Besides those who reported joy at Saddam’s arrest, 20 percent expressed "shock and confusion," and 16 percent reacted with "sadness."
A quarter of Iraqis said Saddam should serve a prison sentence for his crimes, and 19 percent said he should receive clemency.
If the poll is accurate, there’s a good 56-59 percent of the Iraqi people who have something to be happy about in the removal of Saddam and liberation of Iraq. And 16-19 percent feel some sympathy for the old fascist.
Still, security and fuel are the Iraqis' top priorities for now.
The survey was taken by the Iraqi Center for Research and Strategic Studies, and its results were translated and posted by Zeyad on Healing Iraq.
The poll found that at least 77 percent of all Iraqis described as "crimes" Saddam’s role in the Iraq-Iran war, the invasion of Kuwait, the mass graves, gassing the Kurds, the forced deportations, and the killings of religious and national figures.
However, they didn’t mind that he launched missiles into Israel during the 1991 Persian Gulf war over the Kuwait invasion. Only 18 percent said that was a crime.
If the Americans can build on the optimism of those 56-59 percent and give some hope to the doubters, the transition to sovereignty actually might happen in June.
And who knows, free Iraqi elections in 2005?