Time to Take on Saddam?

Our readers say Bush should do it -- if the Iraqi dictator has been making weapons of mass destruction and if U.S. allies go along

Americans think President George W. Bush is going to start a war with Iraq -- and that such action would be justified under certain circumstances. But they're leery of the U.S. acting alone -- or sending American troops to do the job. Those are the key conclusions from our Aug. 14 Reader Survey.

Of the more than 2,600 readers who responded, some 73% think the President will go to war, vs. only 15% who think he won't. Some 55% would favor such a war -- vs. the 35% who wouldn't -- were it proven that Saddam Hussein has been clandestinely making nuclear weapons.

And yet -- based on what they know of the situation at the moment -- some 63% of those who participated wouldn't favor sending large numbers of U.S. troops to Iraq. Likewise, 62% are against the U.S. launching a war if America's allies in Europe and Saudi Arabia refuse to help. And 82% think Bush should get permission from Congress before the U.S. attacks.

One reason for such caution may be that nearly 73% of those who responded think it's either very likely or somewhat likely that a war on Iraq would lead to new terrorist attacks in the U.S.

Here are the details of the survey, which are unscientific since anyone who wished to could participate:

Do you believe that President Bush:

Option Total %  
Intends to go to war with Iraq so as to replace Saddam Hussein 1873 72.63 %
Is only threatening a war to force Saddam Hussein to once again allow inspectors to monitor his weapons-making capability 389 15.08 %
Don't know 317 12.29 %

Based on what you currently know of the situation, would you favor committing 100,000 to 250,000 U.S. troops to a war against Iraq?

Option Total %  
Yes 793 30.36 %
No 1653 63.28 %
Don't know 166 6.36 %

Would you favor such a war if it were proven that Saddam has been making nuclear weapons in violation of strictures against doing so?

Option Total %  
Yes 1439 55.28 %
No 913 35.07 %
Don't know 251 9.64 %

Do you believe that the U.S. should launch a war on Iraq even if America's allies in Europe and Saudi Arabia refuse to help?

Option Total %  
Yes 809 31.08 %
No 1629 62.58 %
Don't know 165 6.34 %

Should President Bush get permission from Congress before launching a war with Iraq?

Option Total %  
Yes 2136 81.96 %
No 391 15.00 %
Don't know 79 3.03 %

What are the chances, in your estimation, that a war on Iraq would lead to new terrorist attacks in the U.S.?

Option Total %  
Very high 1287 49.25 %
Somewhat high 617 23.61 %
Neither high nor low 392 15.00 %
Somewhat low 142 5.43 %
Very low 113 4.32 %
Don't know 62 2.37 %