Global citizenship

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IMAS POLL May/June 2004

What do you think: did the general attitudes towards the United States recently improve, deteriorate or remain the same?
Improve Deteriorate Same

  • Feb/Mar 1998 13 25 62

  • Oct/Nov 2001 12 32 56

  • March 2002 10 36 54

  • June 2004 6 73 22

1026 persons over 16 had been polled face to face and the analysis closed with the following: „The downright dramatic growth of criticism towards the United States since March 2002 leaves no doubt at all that it is based on the US-war against Iraq and the violent occupation policies of the Americans. A crushing majority of nearly 80 percent of Austrians followed the torture of Iraqi POWs. More than 50 percent of the adult population discussed these events with friends or relatives. These discussions were especially intensive among the better educated groups with high school diploma and academics as well as top managers and civil servants.

While 25 percent believe that these torture cases represent individual cases, 37 percent of those polled think that these occurrences represent typical American behavior towards their opponents. Independent of the question of proportion and causes of the torturing the great majority of Austrians think that they constitute criminal behavior, which has to be sanctioned with legal consequences. 56 percent of the Austrians are of the opinion that these actions constitute war crimes, which have to be punished accordingly. Only 11 percent of the Austrians are of a contrary opinion (the others undecided).” The title of the report was revealing: “Disappointment with the world power USA”.8
Furthermore in a Canadian Youth Poll in June 2004 over 40% of Canadian teens thought America is "evil„ and that number rose to 64 per cent for French Canadian youth.9 Why? The International Herald Tribune on 5 July 2004 commented, “U.S. is seen as losing its moral authority.” And the former deputy prime minister of Malaysia, Musa Hitam, brought the meaning home: “Leadership by example is in tatters now, as far as the U.S. is concerned”.10

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