Does the U.S. Military still stand behind our President’s? My interest in this topic was heightened after reading my colleague If Josh Lyman Were Conservative's post yesterday about Ron Tupa hating our military. I checked the comments section to see what our readers were saying about Josh's post. A fellow named Dirty Dave, I wonder how one gets the nickname "Dirty" in the first place, anyways Dirty Dave or "DD" as I like to call him, said that 99% of the troops want to be there and feel like they need to be there to defend the people of Iraq. Dirty Dave was quickly rebuked by "anonymous", or "anon" as I like to call him, who said that only 28% of the troops want to be there and provided a link to back up his statistic.
That statistic reminded me of a recent segment on the competely unbiased (wink) 60 minutes where a "large" (probably 15) group of troops said that they felt we should not be in Iraq anymore. To me the entire segment was less about whatever they were saying about Iraq and much more about CBS twisting the segment to frame it as the U.S. Military not standing behind their Commander in Chief, it made me sick to watch.
Anyways back to our commenters Dirty Dave and Anonymous. I think Dirty Dave was making a generalization that the majority of our troops thought we should be in Iraq and I took it as such. The retort, or more accurately the link providing legitimacy for the retort, was what piqued my interest. It was a link to a Zogby/LeMoyne College Center for Peace and Global Studies. LeMoyne Center for what? Is it really that hard for me to believe a study done with a Center for Peace and Global Studies would have results saying our troops wanted out of Iraq? No. I will not go into all of the reasons why this poll holds little credibility in my eyes, much less a zogby poll in general, but if you would like to know more click here for info on the LeMoyne College Center for Peace and Global Studies unbiased findings and faculty.
Ok, forget the hippie poll and the fact it was done over a year ago and think about the soldiers you have had an opportunity to talk to on a regular basis. Having a brother in Iraq, Semper Fi!, and being in the field of politics I often get to talk to our men and women in uniform, call it a perk of the job. Having spoke to hundreds of our men and women in uniform(yes, literally hundreds) I have always got the impression that they aligned with Dirty Dave's assumption that they thought they should be there and more so thought they needed to be there to protect the people. The much more credentialed Oliver North has had a similar experience from the troops he has spoken with. Were these troops intentionally giving me a false impression because they knew that I was a Republican and thought that I wanted to hear that they supported President Bush’s decision? No, I do not think so.
Anonymous is probably correct in that only 28% of our troops "want" to be there. However if someone wants to be somewhere and if they feel that they should be somewhere are two very different things. I have met many, many soldiers who were proud to have served in Iraq and were glad they could serve their country. I have however not talked to any soldier in Iraq who has said that they "want" to be over there. Most of the time when I talk to my brother he talks about how much he wants to be back here in Colorado with his family, with his girlfriend, with his Fat Tire beer. He has never talked about wanting to be there, it's a hot, dry, sandbox where his friends and comrades have died. Who in their right mind would want to be there? Talk to my brother about if we should be there though and it's an entirely different story. The men and women in uniform over there have a deep sense of pride for not only serving their country but also defending the lives of the Iraqi people. I spoke to a Marine recently and while I will not repeat what he said (it's unappropriate), he basically said a big F U to Congress and those waving their white flags saying we need to bring our troops home before more people die. The Marine I spoke with was not sure if it was Republicans or Democrats that wanted to pull the troops out of Iraq, nor did he care, he was equally as mad at both sides of the aisle for letting it come to the point where we were talking about pulling our troops out at the expense of the lives of the Iraqi people. The Marines in Iraq know there are casualties, they also know that if we pull out from Iraq their will be even more blood shed as there will not be anyone to guard the chicken coop any longer.
The majority of men and women over there understand that our President has their best wishes at heart and that he is trying to do the right thing. A recent poll done by Military Times finds that more troops feel we should have went to Iraq than those who think we should not have went there. The poll shows that those troops who still think we can win in Iraq at being at 50% compared to 41% who do not think we can succeed. In regards to the troop surge, 26% think we need less troops over there, 13% think the current level of troops is fine and 38% think we need more troops over there. The war in Iraq is increasingly complicated and time will be tell if our actions over there were correct or not. While these numbers are not staggering support for the war in Iraq, they are alarmingly more in favor of the war in Iraq then those polls taken of civilians.
Should we pay more respect to the statistics of a poll of our troops than to a poll given to those back home? Given the circumstances, I think so.
With President Bush’s approval ratings in the mid 30’s right now, the best statistic to come out of the Military Times poll was that 52% of those in uniform still approve of George W Bush’s handling of his job as President.
(John Galt is a pragmatic Conservative who, when not fighting liberal policies, enjoys hanging out with friends and family.)