Global Policy Forum

Opposition to the War and Occupation in Iraq

Demonstrators carry mock coffins in protest
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Since September 2002, universities, trade unions, faith groups, NGOs and peace groups have mobilized against the US/UK led war and the occupation of Iraq, forming the biggest anti-war movement in history. This section follows global protests and public opinion on the war and occupation.

See also our section on The Future of the Global Peace Movement, which covers this vigorous international movement and the global citizen solidarity that it reflects and builds.



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Were the Anti Iraq War Demonstrations of 2003 Too Good to Be True? (May 10, 2011)

This Znet article points out that the antiwar movement has significantly retreated after President Barack Obama’s election. The author argues that the anti-war protests during the Bush Administration were mainly motivated by anti-Republican sentiment or orchestrated by the Democratic Party, and now with the election of a Democratic President the protestors have become demobilised. The antiwar movement should focus less on partisan politics, and form a more independent anti-war movement.


What Is to Be Done? Assessing the Antiwar Movement (June 26, 2008)

This CommonDreams article evaluates the antiwar movement in the US, noting that the "successes have been quite limited." He article claims that people feel alienated from the "white, counterculture image of the peace/antiwar movement," making it difficult to translate popular antiwar sentiment into action. The author argues that the antiwar movement should focus less on big demonstrations and more on organizing a base and creating a strong political grassroots movement that can pressure the government to end the war in Iraq.

Resistance Is Futile - Or Is It? (March 19, 2008)

In 2003, peace activists made protest history with 100,000 people marching in San Francisco, 1 million in London and 3 million in Rome. But the US, UK and Italy still went to war. On the fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq, this article concludes that the prophecies from the street were correct. War in Iraq has been nasty, brutish and long: "raq after the invasion is "a stable democracy or shining beacon to anyone in the new generation of jihadis Bush created" The anti-war movement has succeeded in mobilizing a disenchanted public on a scale comparable to Vietnam War protests. (San Francisco Bay Guardian)


Global Poll: Majority Wants Troops Out of Iraq Within a Year (September 6, 2007)

According to a BBC World Service poll, the majority of US and international public opinion indicates US forces should leave Iraq within a year. Of the 22 countries surveyed in the poll, a majority of respondents in 19 of those countries want the US out of Iraq, but few think this will happen. The survey also finds 49 percent believe the US plans to keep permanent military bases in Iraq. Doug Miller, the director of GlobeScan who coordinated the poll, says the majority of global public opinion is opposed to the Bush administrational current policy of letting security conditions in Iraq dictate the timing of US troop withdrawal. (World Public Opinion)

Muslim Public Opinion on US Policy, Attacks on Civilians and al Qaeda (April 24, 2007)

This World Public Opinionpoll conducted in four predominantly Muslim countries finds that the majority of people polled want US forces to leave the Middle East. Additionally, a large majority of respondents believe undermining Islam and spreading Christianity is a key goal of US foreign policy in the region.

US Public's Support of Iraq War Sliding Faster Now (March 20, 2007)

A number of polls indicate that an increasing majority of those who backed the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 now "regret" that decision, 14 percent more than those who still defend it. This Christian Science Monitorarticle points out that public sentiment about the conflict often centers on the perceived costs and "benefits" of a continued US presence in Iraq. Further, while some events in Iraq may have temporarily “and only slightly“ boosted support for the war, more and more people realize that such events have taken place against a steady backdrop of bad news all the time.

Frustration Marks Another War Anniversary (March 19, 2007)

Four years after the US-led invasion of Iraq, the anti-war movement shows no signs of dwindling, reports this Inter Press Service piece. Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets across the United States and around the world, rallying against increased funding for the occupation of Iraq, amongst other things. Although the situation in Iraq continues to deteriorate, many activists remain "cautiously optimistic" that the peace movement will remain a strong driving force for change.

Majority in Poll Favor Deadline for Iraq Pullout (February 27, 2007)

A Washington PostABC News poll reveals that the majority of US citizens favor setting a deadline for withdrawing US forces from Iraq and putting new conditions that could limit the number of personnel available for duty in the country. Among those who supported a timetable, 24 percent said they would like the US forces to leave Iraq within six months and 21 per cent called for the withdrawal within a year. Further, two into three US citizens oppose the US troops surge and 67 percent disapprove of President Bush's handling of the Iraq War.

Anti-War Marches Draw Hundreds of Thousands (January 28, 2007)

Peace activists gathered in Washington D.C. for what organizers called the largest anti-war rally since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq. Protesters included war veterans and active duty US soldiers opposed to the war, as well as anti-war members of the US Congress. Several demonstrations took place simultaneously across the country, signaling the growing unpopularity of the Bush administration's strategy in Iraq, particularly the plan to increase US troops. (Inter Press Service)

Whither All The War Protesters? (January 19, 2007)

This Christian Science Monitor piece compares opposition to the 2003 US-led war in Iraq and ensuing occupation to anti-war activism during the Vietnam War. The article rejects the notion that the anti-war movement is dying and, instead, suggests that the less overt forms of protest nowadays, including weblogs, e-mail and online petitions, reflect technological advances. Further, the author states that, compared to the Vietnam War era, public opposition to the Iraq war grew more rapidly and began at an earlier stage.


Anti-War Movement Deserves Some Credit (November 28, 2006)

This San Francisco Chronicle piece analyzes the anti-war movement in the US and its influence in mobilizing a majority of the public to oppose the continuing US occupation in Iraq. The author argues that, despite a decline in traditional "peace movement" mactivities, such as lobbying, petitioning, and protesting, anti-war sentiment in the US remains high. Recent polls show that the majority of US citizens believe the Iraq war was a mistake and support a withdrawal of US troops.

I Heard You, Malachi (November 9, 2006)

This piece from the Independent Media Center details the death of Malachi Ritscher who self-immolated (set himself on fire) in Chicago, Illinois on November 3, 2006 in protest of the 2003 US-led war in Iraq. The author discusses the lack of US-media coverage for Ritscher's death and compares it to abundant media coverage that the immolations of Buddhist monks received during the Vietnam War.

British and Canadians Criticize Leaders for Following US Lead (August 9, 2006)

A British poll revealed that 63% of voters would prefer "greater distance" between the Bush and Blair administrations. Meanwhile, 52% of voters in a Canadian poll call for a withdrawal of their troops from Afghanistan, a six point increase from March 2006. Despite strong initial support, the polls indicate that a large majority of British citizens and Canadians now question their government's indefinite commitment to US-led missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. (World Public Opinion)

Opponents of Iraq War Rally around Lt. Watada (June 27, 2006)

While courting the press to shield himself from the army's potentially stiff punishment for refusing to serve in Iraq, Lieutenant Ehren Watada has emerged as a new figure for the anti-war movement. Organizations such as Courage to Resist seek to stop the Iraq war by focusing on those ordered to wage and mobilize army resisters. Although military dismiss the influence of the Watada case, peace activists observe that the number of deserters has grown tremendously since the Iraq war began. (Seattle Times)

Thinking Strategically: Challenges Facing the Anti-War Movement (April 6, 2006)

With the bulk of public opinion opposing the war and occupation of Iraq, the anti-war movement needs to transform into action and push for a change in policy. The future of the movement lies in educating the diverse range of activists to "articulate and defend" an exit strategy. (ZNet)

World Demonstrations Strengthen Iraqis (March 29, 2006)

After three years of the US-led occupation, life in Iraq remains dire. Military operations continue and most Iraqis lack basic services. Nonetheless, Inter Press Service reports, Iraqis appreciate the solidarity of anti-war demonstrators in the US and around the world. Anti-war protests "are a great help for Iraq and for justice" one Baghdad resident remarked, and help to solidify Iraqi resistance to the occupation.

The Logic of Withdrawal (March 20, 2006)

After three years of war in Iraq, a majority of both Iraqi and US citizens disapprove of the occupation and favor a timetable for withdrawal. Nonetheless, the anti-war movement has lost some of its luster and faces a "massive propaganda campaign" in support of the war. In this article, Anthony Arnove of ZNet confronts the idea that the US must "stay the course," arguing that the anti-war movement must remain strong in demanding an immediate withdrawal. The US had no right to invade Iraq to begin with, Arnove argues, and has since failed to bring democracy or prevent civil war in Iraq.

World Public Says Iraq War Has Increased Global Terrorist Threat (February 28, 2006)

A new global poll which surveyed 35 countries reveals the majority favors an early withdrawal from Iraq, but this is partially dependent on whether Iraq's government requests forces to stay. The report provides regional and country specific breakdowns, also singling out countries that have forces in Iraq. 60% of people 33 out of 35 countries believe that the war in Iraq has increased the likelihood of terrorist attacks. Nearly all countries reject the notion that the war in Iraq was an effective part of the war against terrorism. (BBC)


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