Bush’s poll numbers are up — a bit:
(Investor’s Business Daily) Bush’s Approval Up On Zarqawi’s Death, But It May Not Last, via BuzzFlash
For one day at least, President Bush was more popular than he’s been all year.
The president’s lagging poll numbers got a swift boost from Thursday’s news that U.S. warplanes had killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the most wanted-terrorist in Iraq.
Polling done on Thursday for the IBD/TIPP Presidential Leadership Index gave Bush a 44.2 rating, up from 39.1 in the prior days of June and 38.9 in May. The last time the Index reached this level was in December, when it hit 44.3.
* * *
While Zarqawi’s death was a big victory for Bush, “much like the capture of Saddam, the bounce will be very temporary,” said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.
So, why would people (or at least 5 percent of them) have such a positive (if temporary) reaction to the killing of one terrorist leader? Could it possibly be because our government has been engaged in a long campaign to deliberately exaggerate his importance?
The U.S. military is conducting a propaganda campaign to magnify the role of the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, according to internal military documents and officers familiar with the program. The effort has raised his profile in a way that some military intelligence officials believe may have overstated his importance and helped the Bush administration tie the war to the organization responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
The documents state that the U.S. campaign aims to turn Iraqis against Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian, by playing on their perceived dislike of foreigners. U.S. authorities claim some success with that effort, noting that some tribal Iraqi insurgents have attacked Zarqawi loyalists.
For the past two years, U.S. military leaders have been using Iraqi media and other outlets in Baghdad to publicize Zarqawi’s role in the insurgency. The documents explicitly list the “U.S. Home Audience” as one of the targets of a broader propaganda campaign.
Meanwhile in Iraq:
Insurgents set a fire in a vegetable market to lure British soldiers into a gunbattle Sunday that left five civilians dead and more than a dozen hurt by the crossfire, Iraqi police said.
The fighting was part of a string of violent incidents Sunday amid a government stalemate and threats of continued violence from insurgents after the death of al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
Enjoy your bounce, George, while it lasts.