Nearly three-quarters of the American troops serving in Iraq think
the U.S. should withdraw within the next year and 29 percent feel we
should get the hell out of the war immediately, a poll of military
personnel serving in country reveals.
This jives with emails I’ve been getting from soldiers over the past
several months and it confirms that those serving on the ground in the
war don’t share the rosy optimism painted by the Bush administration
about the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
“Man, this gig has FUBAR written all over it,” says a Marine who
has served in Iraq for seven months. “Morale is the pits and nobody in
our unit thinks we should be here.”
The poll, conducted by Zogby International, offers a rare look into
the mindset of fighting men and women serving in a war zone. That
mindset is, to say the least, reflective of growing American unrest
over a war based on false information and outright lies.
Among the findings by Zogby:
- Only 23 percent agree with the President’s position that we should “stay in Iraq as long as needed.”
percent of those surveyed felt they were fighting the war “to retaliate
for Saddam’s role in the 9-11 attacks,” although the 9-11 commission in
2004 found “no credible evidence” that Iraq had cooperated with
al-Qaida in the attacks.
- 68 percent said they believed that the real reason for the war was simply to remove Saddam Hussein from power.
percent say the Iraqi insurgency is mostly homegrown, with very little
foreign involvement – a direct contradiction of claims by the Bush
- 55 percent flatly oppose using torture and other harsh interrogation methods on prisoners.
“Ninety-three percent said that removing weapons of mass destruction
is not a reason for U.S. troops being there,” says 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.”
In another direct contradiction of stated White House policy, 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.
Zogby interviewed the 944 soldiers at various locations throughout
Iraq. Three quarters of the troops had served multiple tours and had a
longer exposure to the conflict: 26% were on their first tour of duty,
45% were on their second tour, and 29% were in Iraq for a third time or
The Pentagon did not cooperate with Zogby in the survey and is
trying to downplay the significance of the soldiers’ responses but
offered conflicting responses. In one released statement, the military
brass said the troop comments were not valid because “troops in a
combat zone are likely to express negative views of their situation.”
Then Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Barry Venable tried a different spin.
“The poll’s findings certainly aren’t reflective of the attitudes we
see displayed by the majority of troops, who are performing in a
remarkable manner in a combat situation far from home,” Venable said. I
asked Venable’s office for any polls the military had conducted on
troop attitudes and morale and they admitted they had not done any
surveys but added that they based their conclusions on reports from
“commanders in the field.”
Emails received almost daily from soldiers in the field confirm
Zogby’s findings and say Pentagon claims of success and high morale
are, as one National Guardsman said: “Pure unmitigated bullshit.”
Their emails, and now Zogby’s findings, show these men and women who
put their lives on the line day in and day out do so for a war they
fully know was based on false pretenses and they are fighting and dying
for a cause that doesn’t exist.