Majority in US backs 2008 pull-out from Iraq


A majority of Americans favor pulling US troops out of Iraq by fall 2008, but oppose cutting off funds to the 140,000 soldiers there, according to a poll published on Tuesday.
The Gallup-USA Today poll came as Democrats were pushing a bill which ties funding for the war to a timetable to withdraw US combat troops from Iraq by August 31, 2008.
Of the 1,007 people polled over the weekend, 60 percent support withdrawal from Iraq in 2008, but 61 percent opposed cutting funding for the troops in the country, which is in the grip of a violent insurgency that has killed hundreds of people a week.
Fifty-three percent of those polled believed the insurgency would grow if the number of US soldiers in the volatile capital was lowered. Troops have been there since the US led an invasion in 2003 to oust the late dictator Saddam Hussein.
President George W. Bush has vowed to veto the Democrats’ bill if it includes a set timetable. Republicans have asked for time for Bush’s troop surge strategy, aimed at quelling raging violence in Iraq, to yield results.
The proposed withdrawal timetable was inserted into a 121.6 billion dollar war spending bill endorsed by the Democrat-majority House of Representatives on Friday, which has passed to the Senate for debate.
The poll showed 34 percent approving of Bush’s strategy in Iraq. Fifty-six percent thought the US “made a mistake” in sending troops to Iraq in the first place.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2006