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According to a poll conducted jointly by the Cable News Network, the U-S-A Today newspaper, and the Gallup organization, Iraqis have mixed feelings about the presence of U.S.-led coalition forces in their country.

Forty-two percent of the three-thousand-four-hundred Iraqis interviewed across the country said Iraq was better off because of the war that overthrew Saddam Hussein’s regime, while thirty-nine percent said it was worse off. Sixty-one percent of those polled said they personally thought ousting Saddam Hussein’s regime was worth it despite hardships suffered since the U.S.-led coalition’s invasion. Twenty-eight percent said it was not worth it, while nine percent said they were not sure.

Asked about when they wanted the U.S.-led coalition forces to leave, fifty-seven percent said immediately, while thirty-six percent said those troops should stay longer. Forty-seven percent of the poll’s respondents said they believed attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq could not be justified, while fifty-two percent said such attacks could be justified some or all of the time. Still, fifty-three percent said they would feel less safe if the U.S.-led coalition left immediately, while twenty-eight percent said they would feel more safe.

Despite such attitudes and the ongoing violence in the country, more than half of those surveyed -- fifty-one percent -- said they and their families were better off than they were before the invasion, while twenty-five percent said they were worse off.

President George W. Bush says that the U.S. and its coalition partners have no desire to occupy Iraq indefinitely:

“As a proud, independent people, Iraqis do not support an indefinite occupation, and neither does America. We're not an imperial power, as nations such as Japan and Germany can attest. We're a liberating power, as nations in Europe and Asia can attest as well. America's objective in Iraq is limited, and it is firm. We seek an independent, free, and secure Iraq.”

For that reason, says President Bush, the U.S.-led coalition is committed to returning sovereignty to Iraq by June 30th.