Pledging yesterday to seek congressional approval for possible war against Iraq, President Bush said that “doing nothing about that serious threat is not an option for the United States.”

While the White House increasingly argued for war, American support for an armed conflict with Iraq has dropped significantly, according to three different public opinion polls.

“Public support for military action against Iraq has dropped to its lowest level since the war on terrorism began,” reported

In the last few weeks, support for military action dropped from 69 percent to 56 percent.

The ABC poll also found that 80 percent of Americans think President Bush needs congressional authorization before attacking Iraq.

Americans were divided over whether war against Saddam Hussein would increase the risk of future terrorist attacks, according to Forty-seven percent said the lack of military action would cause a greater risk of terrorism, while 40 percent said that action would pose a great danger.

According to a Newsweek poll, 62 percent of Americans favor the use of military support, down from 81 percent in October 2001.

Only 49 percent of Americans “would support sending large numbers of U.S. ground troops into Iraq; 45 percent would not support the use of ground forces (6 percent are not sure),” reported.

A Gallup poll, taken in early August, found that support for using American ground troops to remove Saddam Hussein had dropped from 74 percent in November 2001 to 53 percent in August 2002. During the same recording period, opposition to such military action had increased from 20 percent to 41 percent.

Gallup News Service said that “the public is more conflicted now” over a U.S. attack against Saddam Hussein than after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

“The poll also shows that public support for a war against Iraq could shift substantially if the war requires a year or more of extensive fighting,” Gallup News Service reported.

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