Military Times magazine reports the results of their annual subscriber poll, conducted by mail:
- Only 35% of respondents approve of Bush’s handling of the war, while 42% disapprove;
- 41% believe the US should have gone to war in the first (compared to 42% of the general population);
- And 50% feel that “success is likely” (whatever that means).
It is important to note, as Military Times puts it:
The results are not representative of the military as a whole. The survey’s respondents, 945 this year, are on average older, more experienced, more likely to be officers and more career-oriented than the overall military population.
Further, 66% have deployed at least once to Iraq or Afghanistan.
In other words, they tend to represent the career soldiers and officers, those most identified with the military as an institution. If Bush has lost this group, the attitudes of the rest of the military is likely much more critical. In fact, a March 2006 Stars and Stripes poll of those fighting in Iraq found “that 72% of them wanted to be withdrawn within a year, while 29% favored immediate withdrawl.”
This group is not sure what should be done about the messes in Iraq and Afghanistan:
Only about one in five service members said large numbers of American troops can be replaced with Iraqi troops within the next two years. More than one-third think it will take more than five years. And more than half think the U.S. will have to stay in Iraq more than five years to achieve its goals.
Almost half of those responding think the United States needs more troops in Iraq. A surprising 13% said the U.S. should have no troops there.
As for Afghanistan force levels, 39% think we need more troops there. But while they want more troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, nearly three-quarters of the respondents think the military is stretched too thin to be effective.
Notice that: 13% of career military believe the US should not be in Iraq at all! Combine them with the three quarters who believe the military is stretched too thin and the conditions look quite ripe for the antiwar movement within the military. No wonder the An Appeal for Redress from the War in Iraq has been signed by Almost 1,000 active duty soldiers. As others in the antiwar movement try to replicate the 1960′s coffeehouses, the conditions may finally be fertile. If so, the antiwar movement may soon be getting a huge boost.
January 2nd, 2007