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  • The Scriptorium

    8/29/2005

    Military Opinions on Sheehan, Bush, and Iraq

    Filed under: — Ben Rast @ 7:45 pm

    The media circus surrounding Cindy Sheehan has stirred up the media reporting on public opinion with regards to the war in Iraq and support for President Bush. What has been noticably absent is any reporting on the opinions of those whose opinions we’re SUPPOSED to care about – those of our troops. Our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines are the ones who are risking their lives. Cindy Sheehan, though understandably grieved over the death of her adult son, is not risking her life. Neither is President Bush, Larry King, Bill O’Reilly, or the “journalists” over at the New York Times.

    Remembering my time in the service, I knew that the publications of the Military Times Media Group (Air Force Times, Army Times, Navy Times, Marine Corps Times) could be good resources. These publications are not government owned, and subscribers largely consist of active duty military and veterans. Because it is not government owned, military members who respond to surveys are able to do so honestly without fear of reprisals. The first thing I found is a non-scientific poll on their respective websites, asking if Cindy Sheehan’s protest is appropriate or inappropriate. As of this evening, more than 3300 people have responded to the poll. Just over 27% of respondants feel her protest is appropriate, while more than 69% feel it is inappropriate. This echoes the common sentiments of the servicemembers in the field who have let their families know that Sheehan’s protest is bad for morale.

    The other item of interest on the website is the results of the 2004 comprehensive survey. Each year the Times group surveys a random group of subscribers on a variety of issues. The survey for 2005 hasn’t been conducted yet (it’s a year-end survey), but the 2004 survey included questions about President Bush and the War in Iraq (among other topics). Respondents were mostly on active duty. As of year-end 2004, 63% approved of the way President Bush was handling the war in Iraq, while only 20% disapproved. 71% approved of the way President Bush was handling his job as president, and a mere 16% disapproved. The troops were asked if the United States should have gone to war with Iraq. Now realizing that this was after the reports that no WMD’s had been found in Iraq, 60% believed this war is a just cause, while only 21% disagreed. That’s nearly a 3 to 1 margin!

    We here in the United States have a level of comfort from which we can presume to judge the appropriateness of the war and how it’s conducted. We have a nice, soft, recliner from which to do our armchair quarterbacking. The media is beatifying Cindy Sheehan. Saint Cindy is afforded unparalleled air time, and her detractors are branded as uncaring and hateful for even questioning her motives and her financial backers. In this circus, how many have stopped to consider how the troops feel? Shouldn’t we ought to care?

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