- The Washington Times - Monday, March 24, 2003

Three-fourths of Americans support the war in Iraq, according to the latest polls, and many are demonstrating their solidarity with patriotic displays and yellow ribbons.
A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, conducted Thursday night, found that 76 percent of U.S. adults, ages 18 and over, approve of the decision to go to war against Iraq.
That was up from 66 percent in a poll by the same organizations last Monday night. In the earlier survey, two-thirds said they would support invading Iraq if Saddam Hussein did not meet President Bush's demand that he leave in 48 hours.
A poll by ABC News and The Washington Post, also conducted Thursday night, found that 72 percent of those surveyed support the war. It improved on the 71 percent support garnered in a poll Monday night after Mr. Bush's televised ultimatum.
Support for war was 59 percent in both polls a week ago.
Also, a CBS/New York Times poll released Friday found that 74 percent of Americans support the war.
Frank Newport, editor in chief of the Gallup Poll, said in a telephone interview that he was not surprised by the sharp increase in support for the war.
"We're basically experiencing the rallying effect that we always see at least for the short term when America goes to war," he said.
Mr. Newport recalled that Gallup polls showed support for "Operation Desert Storm" at just over 50 percent immediately before war broke out in early 1991.
But once combat started, support jumped to 79 percent in just one day, he said.
Both new polls revealed that partisanship is an important factor in the debate over the war, although majorities in both parties support military action.
The Gallup poll found that 96 percent of Republicans, 69 percent of independents, and 61 percent of Democrats support the war.
The ABC News survey showed Republican support at 90 percent, independents at 73 percent and Democrats at 51 percent.
Mr. Langer said the new poll indicated Americans are far less apprehensive about massive U.S. casualties than they were two weeks ago.
At that time, he said, 62 percent expected heavy U.S. casualties. But now that figure is down to 37 percent, as the public has learned of the country's sophisticated military technology and the few casualties reported in the opening days of the conflict.
Brook Jacobs, owner of Greenbrook Flowers in Jackson, Miss., said he is convinced that some people who had doubts about the need for war "are now coming to support it."
Mr. Jacobs said he has been making up and giving out yellow weather-resistant bows for people wishing to convey their hope for the safe return of the U.S. troops in the Persian Gulf.
"We've been deluged," he said, noting that more than 10,000 bows have been distributed.
He began the bow giveaway because he was "perturbed" by media coverage of anti-war demonstrations.
"This is letting our armed services know we're thinking about them. People who protest forget this country was built on the blood of our forefathers," Mr. Jacobs said.
Yellow ribbons are also hanging all around town in Custer City, Okla. Mayor Tony Littleton has said they will remain on display until U.S. troops make their "triumphant return."
Don Perry, owner of a flag store in Ocean Springs, Miss., said he purchased abut 30 banners with the message; "We Support Our Troops. Come Home Soon," which he gave to businesses with flagpoles located along a major highway in that town.
Scott Salway, manager of National Flag and Display of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said he has "seen an increase" in flag sales. "I've sold dozens of car-window flags, which are the easiest way for people to show patriotism."
David L. White, executive director of the National Flag Foundation in Pittsburgh, said the war has spurred interest in its "Flags Across America" project, an effort to raise large U.S. flags on flagpoles 120 feet to 150 feet high all across the country.
Members of the Arizona Air National Guard, deployed out of state since September 11, will be honored April 16 by presentations of American Legion Blue Star Service Banners to their family members.
Chief Master Sgt. Glenn Klassen, who returned to Phoenix last spring after a six-month deployment in the Gulf, said he has received a banner and treasures it.
"We're very isolated when we're deployed in a foreign country," said Sgt. Klassen. "When we see the folks back home rallying around us, it really means a lot."

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