Is There A Disconnect Between What The Public Now Knows, And What Troops Think About Iraq?
Zogby has released an interesting poll about what the troops in Iraq think about the war, but the poll is more troubling for what it says about why the troops feel they are in Iraq:
An overwhelming majority of 72% of American troops serving in Iraq think the U.S. should exit the country within the next year, and nearly one in four say the troops should leave immediately, a new Le Moyne College/Zogby International survey shows.
The poll, conducted in conjunction with Le Moyne College’s Center for Peace and Global Studies, showed that 29% of the respondents, serving in various branches of the armed forces, said the U.S. should leave Iraq “immediately,” while another 22% said they should leave in the next six months. Another 21% said troops should be out between six and 12 months, while 23% said they should stay “as long as they are needed.”But dig into the poll's findings and you get a complicated picture.
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.
And what do they understand that mission to be?
While 85% said the U.S. mission is mainly “to retaliate for Saddam’s role in the 9-11 attacks,” 77% said they also believe the main or a major reason for the war was “to stop Saddam from protecting al Qaeda in Iraq.”
What is confusing about this is whether or not these troops know that they were sent over there for reasons that have been discredited.
“Ninety-three percent said that removing weapons of mass destruction is not a reason for U.S. troops being there,” said Pollster John Zogby, President and CEO of Zogby International. “Instead, that initial rationale went by the wayside and, in the minds of 68% of the troops, the real mission became to remove Saddam Hussein.” Just 24% said that “establishing a democracy that can be a model for the Arab World" was the main or a major reason for the war. Only small percentages see the mission there as securing oil supplies (11%) or to provide long-term bases for US troops in the region (6%).
Does this mean that the troops knew early on that the reasons given to the public for selling this war were garbage, or do the troops still believe the now-discredited rationales for this war? The poll isn't clear on this. They seemingly understand that in the end it came down to getting rid of Saddam, and to forget this stuff about spreading democracy. That is why many of them say in the poll that it is time to come home.
Take a look at what the troops think of us here at home, and again consider the disinformation that the Pentagon has aimed at these troops as to why they are there in the first place:
The troops have drawn different conclusions about fellow citizens back home. 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.
Nearly 40% think that Americans favoring withdrawal are unpatriotic, yet these are the same troops who may believe they are there in the first place for reasons that have been proven false. Swell.
Here’s my question: has the Pentagon ever told the troops that the reasons they were sent there were found to be based on lies?