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Poll: Many Support Iraq Decision

November 17, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A majority of Americans supported President Clinton’s decision to abort the U.S. military attack on Iraq, after Baghdad promised unconditional access to weapons inspectors.

According to a CBS News Poll released Monday, 54 percent of the American public agreed with the decision to hold back on a strike; 39 percent felt the United States should have taken action anyway.

But support will quickly fade if the Iraqi president breaks his promise, the poll showed. Eighty-two percent of the public said they would favor immediate military action if inspectors are denied access, and 85 percent do not believe that Saddam Hussein will keep his word.

While 63 percent of Americans approve of the way Clinton is handling the situation in Iraq, half say he has not been tough enough. If the United States is forced to take military action, 67 percent of Americans say the strike should last until Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein is removed from power.

The poll of 762 adults was conducted by phone on Sunday. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

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