March 01, 2006

US OUT NOW? How About We Ask The Troops?

John Zogby got Pentagon approval for a poll of 944 US soldiers in Iraq. The results are astounding, particularly following the recent CBS poll of Bush. From the FT report:
Only 23 per cent of US troops believed that they should stay “as long as they are needed”.

Seventy-two per cent of troops said the US should withdraw within 12 months; 29 per cent said they should pull out immediately.
So that is more than one in four saying pull out NOW, and more than three in four saying pull out THIS YEAR.

But why do these US troops think they went to Iraq in the first place?
Ninety-three per cent of US troops polled said the removal of weapons of mass destruction was not the main US mission in Iraq. Instead, 68 per cent said the mission was actually the removal of Saddam Hussein, the former Iraqi president.

Despite the fact that Mr Bush has acknowledged that Iraq played no role in the September 2001 attacks, 85 per cent of troops said the US mission was mainly “to retaliate for Saddam’s role in the 9/11 attacks”, a result that Mr Zogby described as “bewildering”.
That is not just bewildering, it is disgraceful. These soldiers are mostly impressionable young men: if they still believe that lie, it's because it has been hammered into their heads by US military propaganda.

Boy, are they going to be pissed when they learn the truth!

Zogby has more thoughts on this historic poll here:
Asked why they think some Americans favor rapid U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq, 37% of troops serving there said those Americans are unpatriotic, while 20% believe people back home don't believe a continued occupation will work. Another 16% said they believe those favoring a quick withdrawal do so because they oppose the use of the military in a pre-emptive war, while 15% said they do not believe those Americans understand the need for the U.S. troops in Iraq...

The wide-ranging poll also shows that 58% of those serving in country say the U.S. mission in Iraq is clear in their minds, while 42% said it is either somewhat or very unclear to them, that they have no understanding of it at all, or are unsure.
Again, disgraceful.

Then there is this:
To control the insurgency, a majority of respondents (53%) said the U.S. should double both the number of troops and bombing missions, an option absolutely no one back in Washington is considering.
And finally:
A separate study on Tuesday from Globespan and the Program on International Policy Attitudes found that 33 of 35 countries polled believe the war in Iraq has increased the likelihood of terrorist attacks around the world.
UPDATE: Liberals like Kos are pointing out that the troops don't "support the troops" and are in fact well to the left of the Democrats on Iraq. And how's this for a look at the reality facing US soldiers:
For the American soldiers it was an unfamiliar role. They found themselves in the middle of a fight they could only partially comprehend, stuck between two sides on the edge of civil war.

This was an Iraqi problem, their commanders told them. The solution would have to be Iraqi as well.

"It's like a secret war," said Lt. Justin Glass, a 27-year-old from Tallahassee, Fla. To his Iraqi interpreters and the Iraqi soldiers, he said, the mosque bombing "was like the Oklahoma City bombing."

Glass added: "There's stuff that we may never know. We're sheltered because of cultural barriers."

"It felt — at times — like someone else's war," said 28-year-old Capt. Gregory Stone of the 1st Squadron, 71st Cavalry.

When the mosque was attacked, Stone was at a district council meeting in the Shiite neighborhood of Kadhimiya, talking with local leaders about what to do with a repeat check-fraud offender.

One of the Iraqis took a cellphone call. The interpreters stopped interpreting. Baffled U.S. soldiers looked on as a councilman talked to the others with great animation.

"Then," Stone said, "all hell broke loose."

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