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Name That Poll-ee.



It's a quiz: guess the group being polled.

In 2004 83% of this group were optimistic about the Iraq war. Today that number is 50%.

Just 35% approve of Mr. Bush's handling of the war, while 42% disapprove. Just 41% agree that it was a good idea to go to war in Iraq in the first place.

63% think the generals keep the best interests of the troops at heart. 48% say the same of Mr. Bush. That same question scores 32% for Pentagon civilians, and 23% for Congress.

The president's overall approval number -- 52% -- is still higher than the general population, but down sharply from two years ago when it stood at 71%.

This group is evenly split on whether Iraq is part of a larger war on terror: 47 to 47%.

Party identification is swinging away from the GOP. In 2004 the self-identified Republicans were 60%. Now just 46%. The move has not been to the Democratic Party, but to Independent status.

What was the group being polled? The US military.

The mail survey, conducted Nov. 13 through Dec. 22, is the fourth annual gauge of active-duty mili tary subscribers to the Military Times newspapers. The results should not be read as representative of the military as a whole; the survey’s respondents are on average older, more experienced, more likely to be officers and more career-oriented than the overall military population.

Among the respondents, 66 per cent have deployed at least once to Iraq or Afghanistan. In the overall active-duty force, according to the Department of Defense, that number is 72 percent.
(my bold.)

Professor David Segal, director of the Center for Research on Military Organization at the University of Maryland, was not surprised by the changing attitude within the military.

“They’re seeing more casualties and fatalities and less progress,” Segal said. He added, “Part of what we’re seeing is a recognition that the in telligence that led to the war was wrong.”
Members of the US military still know they have the support of the American people, but they're decidedly less sure about politicians, and they're doubtful of the media:
The poll asked, “How do you think each of these groups view the military?” Respondents over whelmingly said civilians have a favorable impression of the military (86 percent). They even thought politicians look favorably on the military (57 percent). But they are convinced the media hate them — only 39 percent of military respondents said they think the media have a favorable view of the troops.
The MSM-bashers will point to that last statistic and say, "See? The media have destroyed morale and that's why the military has turned negative on the mission."

But not so fast:
Whatever war plan the president comes up with later this month, it likely will have the replacement of American troops with Iraqis as its ultimate goal. The military is not optimistic that will happen soon. Only about one in five service members said that large numbers of American troops can be replaced 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 we need more troops in Iraq than we have there now. A surprising 13 percent said we should have no troops there. As for Afghanistan force levels, 39 per cent think we need more troops there. But while they want more troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, nearly three-quarters of the respondents think today’s military is stretched too thin to be effective.
The military doubts our ability to stand up Iraqi forces. The military suspects we're undermanned in Iraq. The military believes they are stretched too thin.

Are those the opinions and attitudes of the war's uncritical amen corner? No. Those are the opinions held and expressed by rational critics of this war for the last three years plus.

Which of those three criticisms -- of the "stand up, stand down" strategy, of the undersized in-theater force levels, of the overall force levels -- can be laid at the feet of the media or of Democrats or of war critics? None. Which of those three criticisms are directed at the White House? Three out of three.

So, who is to blame for the US military's increasingly jaundiced view of the war they're fighting? The White House, the Pentagon, and their amen corner in the punditocracy and the blogosphere.

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“Name That Poll-ee.”

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