This piece of news was buried at the bottom of page 2 of the daily newspaper Berlingske Tidende Monday (sorry, no link to the actual item) and was almost overlooked:
A poll conducted by Zapera on behalf of the “think tank of news” Mandag Morgen that was carried out on April 24 – 25 showed that 41 per cent of Danes support that Danish troops should stay in Iraq as long as it may be necessary, while 25 per cent want their stay to be fixed by a certain period, whereas only 30 per cent want them withdrawn immediately. Thus, two thirds support our troops in Iraq and less than a third wants them out.
Imagine if it had been the other way around. It would have hit the front page. As it is, you can’t even find it on DR (the Danish equivalent to the BBC in respect of public service, oh, and bias of course).
Last year in January, a similar poll was spun by adding the take-them-home-now crowd with the take-them-home-within-a-fixed-period-of-a-year-or-more bunch, which made it possible to suggest that a majority of Danes were against Prime Minister Fogh Rasmussen, because he wanted them to stay as long as necessary. But in fact, the take-them-home crowd was even smaller then, some 22 per cent, while 76 per cent supported keeping the troops. A few bought it, though. Here’s a quote from The Economist, Full Fogh Forward (Feb. 3rd, 2005) (restricted):
Public opinion has swung against the Iraq war, and two-thirds of Danes want their 500 troops home soon, …
Well, you can’t fool The Economist completely, so they added: but they are unlikely to punish Mr. Fogh Rasmussen for sending them. And indeed, he won the election later that month nicely.
Why, one may ask, are Danes different from so many others? They are bombarded with solely negative news on Iraq by the MSM like most others and yet it has hardly had any effect.
First of all, it appears that Danes are less naïve than many of their blue and starry eyed European cousins. They may buy the leave-it-to-the-UN stuff, Danes don’t. Second, the anti-Americanism that is a primary driver behind the let’s-skip-Iraq movement is less popular in Denmark than in, say, Germany, France or Spain. It’s here alright, but it always looks quaint.
One case in point is Mr Mogens Lykketoft, who in his youth way back in the last century nurtured an intense dislike against the USA, while praising the “samba-socialism” of Mr Castro. Mr Lykketoft became the leader of the Socialdemocrats only to be defeated spectacularly by Mr Fogh Rasmussen last year as mentioned above. That has not stopped Mr Lykketoft from arguing that we should skip Iraq, nor has it prevented his party from making him their shadow foreign secretary, effectively making the party’s policy on Iraq under their (very) new but otherwise quite sensible leader Ms Helle Thorning-Schmidt follow a Brownian motion. If Mr Lykketoft thinks that he’s on to a winner by calling for immediate withdrawal, he and his party may be disappointed. Danes are no quitters.