Nearly six out of every 10 military families disapprove of Bush's job performance and the way he has run the war, rating him only slightly better than the general population does.
I disapprove of Bush's job performance as well. That doesn't mean I think we should abandon Iraq, especially now that things seem to be going better.
And among those families with soldiers, sailors and Marines who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan, 60% say that the war in Iraq was not worth the cost, the same result as all adults surveyed.
I'm surprised it isn't 100%. You see these are the families who've had to bear the brunt of dealing with the PTSD problems or the loss of best friends or the nightmares or any of a host of other problems. No soldier or his family who has ever lost a friend or has seen them horribly wounded thinks the war was worth the cost.
Patience with the war, which has now lasted longer than the U.S. involvement in World War II, is wearing thin — particularly among families who have sent a service member to the conflict. One-quarter say American troops should stay "as long as it takes to win." Nearly seven in 10 favor a withdrawal within the coming year or "right away."
Military families are only slightly more patient: 35% are willing to stay until victory; 58% want the troops home within a year or sooner.
Patience always wears thin among military families when the op tempo is such that there are multiple deployments within a few years. What they've shown is remarkable patience to this point. So it is hardly surprising that their patience is finally showing some wear. And, of course, anyone with a soldier deployed would want them home "within a year or sooner". Wouldn't you?
Another point. Soldiers come from all sorts of backgrounds, both socioeconomic and political:
When military families were asked which party could be trusted to do a better job of handling issues related to them, respondents divided almost evenly: 39% said Democrats and 35% chose Republicans. The general population feels similarly: 39% for Democrats and 31% for Republicans.
"The Democrats are not seen as the anti-soldier group anymore," said Charles C. Moskos, a military sociologist at Northwestern University. He added that Bush's firm backing of the troops did not gain him any points because the entire country was now viewed as supportive of the military, even if not of the war. "He doesn't get extra credit for that."
"We support the troops; we don't support Bush," said respondent Linda Ramirez, 52, of Spooner, Wis., whose 19-year-old son is due to be deployed with the Marines early next year. "These boys have paid a terrible, terrible price."
The fact that a young man may choose to join the service (and his parents can't stop him) doesn't mean he comes from a war supporting or Bush supporting family. So it shouldn't come as a particular surprise when families of service members (and as you can see here, this particular family member is a mother, not a spouse) reflect their beliefs, but not necessarily the belief of their son. Nor should it come as a surprise that they want him or her home.
Then there's this:
Asked about the Bush administration's handling of the needs of active-duty troops, military families and veterans, 57% of the general public disapprove. That number falls only slightly among military families — 53% give a thumbs-down.
And most military families and others surveyed took no exception to retired officers publicly criticizing the Bush administration's execution of the war. More than half of the respondents in both groups — 58% — say such candor is appropriate. Families with someone who had served in the war are about equally supportive at 55%.
Again, not exactly the most unbiased or dispassionate group available for polling. There are few parents who will think the needs of their son or daughter are being met to their satisfaction. Of course that doesn't mean their expectations are reasonable either. That's not to say all is hunky dory, but again, I'd be much more inclined to give these opinions weight if they could be specific about what "needs" of the active duty troops aren't being met.
And last, the speaking out. Yeah, that's all cool when it supports your political ideology or beliefs about the war and if you look at the percentages, well, they're pretty darn close.
Parents (which is what this poll seems to be surveying since the bulk of the military is usually unmarried) never, ever want their kid to go to war (even if they choose to do so all by themselves) so they're much more likely to have a negative view of the war, the administration taking us to war and all the ancillary parts of that experience.
So I'm not real sure why this is at all significant to anyone but the LA Times, frankly.
Methinks thou dost protest too much. Obviously you are spending a lot of time and effort trying to say that the numbers don’t mean anything. If it wasn’t considered news, you wouldn’t ’feel compelled to do that. You know it is noticed and people see that as yet more evidence that not only was the war a bad idea, but one can easily oppose it while supporting the troops...unless those who oppose the war with families overseas can be accused of not supporting their sons, daughters, or other family members.
An Army recruiter (I think it was Jack Army, though I haven’t checked his blog forever, I should) said that a recruiter truism was that the biggest threat to the United States military was American mothers.
And I don’t think he was joking.
I don’t think that McQ protests too much. I think he points out what we know. Those of us who volunteer don’t always do so with the support of our families (support the child, but not their choices) and particularly during war time parents are going to be upset and worried even if they do approve of the military. Even spouses... I’ve been a dreaded "DW" and I’ve been active duty. Being a DW SUCKS. It’s sucks like an A1-Abrams or B-52 or the freaking Nimitz. It sucks like a vacuum based plumbing system and that’s when the active duty member is actually IN RESIDENCE and able to take care of all the military crap FOR you rather than being deployed. Having your guy deployed turns the suck into an exponential suck, even *without* a war in the equation. I’d recommend anyone enlist but if someone asked me about the military life for a spouse... well, I’d tell them to enlist.
The *news* is that families are as supportive as they are during wartime and repeated deployments.
This poll seem to be of dubious value, as McQ rightly points out. Not because of the outcome, but because there is little proof it’s respondents represent some identifiable subset of the general population, especially the claimed demograhic.
If you look at the poll’s own description of the respondents, they did nothing more than ask people if they were part of a military family. Based on the premise of the poll, it does not seem too difficult to actually start with a database of military families and then administer the poll only within that population. Why not do that? I would hope there is a legitimate reason, such as lack of access to such a database or privacy concerns. But then why not acknowledge that limitation up front?
But then again, the definition of a "military family" seems overly broad. The poll includes immediate family members of active duty, reservist, and veteran military members. That would seem to mean that the sister of somebody who served 4 years in the Army in the late 70’s qualifies as part of a "military family." It’s instructive that the opening line of the LAT piece uses the phrase "families with ties to the military" but then shifts to the phrase "military families" most everywhere else. I think this is deceptive. Speaking as a very recently retired Naval Officer, inside the military the phrase "military family" means spouses and children and not much else. (Or in another context it means a parent, sibling, or aunt/uncle, are/were career military.) I wonder if that is what the LAT hopes most people will infer from the article, especially those people who only hear the reports of the poll rather than read the article? If you can sell that perception it has tremendous value to the anti-war, BDS crowd.
It also matters where the pollsters placed their random calls. Was it nationwide or focused on areas with military bases? Were these bases Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps? I am certain that the perspectives of most Navy families are much different from those of Army families. Sailors are at much lower risk and the optempo changes have not been as severe (the Navy likely started from a higher optempo) This data does not seem to have been recorded, or at least not reported.
I would further like to know if there was a difference between the responses from active duty families and reservist families. Each comes at the issue from a much different perspective, especially at this point in time. They also tend to come from different (though overlapping) segments of the general population.
Thus the fact that the data does not diverge much from polls of the general population reveals no insights worth noting because it does not sufficiently isolate the intended demographic. So what you have is a poll that means almost nothing to most anyone with any experience in the military because nothing new is revealed.
But Erb and others like him claim the poll is a great revelation with no apparent attempt at critical thinking. But heck, it supports their narrative so why think too hard.