Leavin' on a jet plane
I'd rather be in Kentucky
Some days Nick Kristof is clueless. Somedays not
The Soldiers Speak. Will President Bush Listen?
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
Published: February 28, 2006
When President Bush held a public meeting with troops by satellite last fall, they were miraculously upbeat. And all along, unrepentant hawks (most of whom have never been to Iraq) have insisted that journalists are misreporting Iraq and that most soldiers are gung-ho about their mission.
Hogwash! A new poll to be released today shows that U.S. soldiers overwhelmingly want out of Iraq — and soon.
The poll is the first of U.S. troops currently serving in Iraq, according to John Zogby, the pollster. Conducted by Zogby International and LeMoyne College, it asked 944 service members, "How long should U.S. troops stay in Iraq?"
Only 23 percent backed Mr. Bush's position that they should stay as long as necessary. In contrast, 72 percent said that U.S. troops should be pulled out within one year. Of those, 29 percent said they should withdraw "immediately."
That's one more bit of evidence that our grim stay-the-course policy in Iraq has failed. Even the American troops on the ground don't buy into it — and having administration officials pontificate from the safety of Washington about the need for ordinary soldiers to stay the course further erodes military morale.
While the White House emphasizes the threat from non-Iraqi terrorists, only 26 percent of the U.S. troops say that the insurgency would end if those foreign fighters could be kept out. A plurality believes that the insurgency is made up overwhelmingly of discontented Iraqi Sunnis.
So what would it take to win in Iraq? Maybe that was the single most depressing finding in this poll.
By a two-to-one ratio, the troops said that "to control the insurgency we need to double the level of ground troops and bombing missions." And since there is zero chance of that happening, a majority of troops seemed to be saying that they believe this war to be unwinnable.
No shit. Soldiers say upbeat things to keep their families from worrying and to avoid hassles with command.
But from Kos diaries, letters to Stars and Stripes and the rest, they want to go home and end the war.
posted by Steve @ 12:13:00 AM