"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." ~ Benjamin Franklin

What do you mean "Despite"?

>> Monday, December 27, 2004

USA Today has the poll results of active duty military personnel.

Despite a year of ferocious combat, mounting casualties and frequent deployments, support for the war in Iraq remains very high among the active-duty military, according to a Military Times Poll.
Sixty-three percent of respondents approve of the way President Bush is handling the war, and 60% remain convinced it is a war worth fighting. Support for the war is even greater among those who have served longest in the combat zone: Two-thirds of combat vets say the war is worth fighting.

But the men and women in uniform are under no illusions about how long they will be fighting in Iraq; nearly half say they expect to be there more than five years.

In addition, 87%% say they're satisfied with their jobs and, if given the choice today, only 25% say they'd leave the service.

Compared with last year, the percentages for support for the war and job satisfaction remain essentially unchanged.

A year ago, 77% said they thought the military was stretched too thin to be effective. This year, that number shrank to 66%.

The findings are part of the annual Military Times Poll, which this year included 1,423 active-duty subscribers to Air Force Times, Army Times, Navy Times and Marine Corps Times.

The subscribers were randomly surveyed by mail in late November and early December. The poll has a margin of error of +/—2.6%.

Among the poll's other findings:

•75% oppose a military draft.

•60% blame Congress for the shortage of body armor in the combat zone.

•12% say civilian Pentagon policymakers should be held accountable for abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

If you exclude the first sentence, it's a decent story about how our service members think Operation Iraqi Freedom is worth fighting and that they think the President is doing a good job. This, by the people on the ground not only seeing and implementing US policy, but paying the price for it as well.

But how does Robert choose to open the piece? "Despite a year of ferocious combat..." Change the word "Despite" to "After" and the piece comes together nicely.

But Robert forgot that troops were deployed to Afghanistan in 2002 and we're still rotating them in. We're still rotating troops into Kosovo too, which is still considered an Imminent Danger zone. Oh, we're still rotating troops to Korea and after 50 years, it's still considered a combat zone too.

Even excluding Marines on embassy duty, we have troops posted throughout the world. We are stretched pretty thin. One of Rumsfeld's goals was to reconfigure the military so that the administrative/logistical tail wasn't bigger than the maneuver units teeth, in terms of manpower. What that means is having more people in the military in combat arms specialties, rather than supply/logistics or even cooks. What that also means is that the use of contractors goes up, hence the kerfluffle with Haliburton at the beginning of OIF. Of course the ones complaining were the same ones complaining about how slow the reconstruction is going. Slowed partially because of the bidding requirements imposed as a result of that kerfluffle.

So why do the people most affected by American policy agree with the central tenets of the war on terrorists and specifically OIF? Could it be that they see the effects first hand? Could it be that the media screws up the reporting of Iraq? Well yes, but they only show the bad things that happen locally too. Just turn on your local news tonight and count only the positive stories about your local community. Will you even get to 1? But you still go shopping, to work, buy gas because you know that what's reported is the exception rather than the rule. You see positive things every day and may have even recommended your community to someone as a good place to live. Sure bad things happen, sure random acts of terror occur every day in Iraq. However, more people died driving on US roads last year then died due to acts of war in Iraq. Let the Coalition forces loose. Let them kill the terrorists. There are too many politically correct "rules" to abide by as it is. Winning the war is the only answer. Anything less and this battle will only be fought again and again and again...

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