The third annual Military Times poll of active-duty personnel, viewed “as a barometer of the professional career military”, proves that Our Troops! hate America.
For the first time, more troops disapprove of the president’s handling of the war than approve of it, according to the 2006 Military Times Poll.
When the military was feeling most optimistic about the war — in 2004 — 83% of poll respondents thought success in Iraq was likely. This year, that number has shrunk to 50%.
Only 35% of the military members polled this year said they approve of the way Bush is handling the war, and 42% said they disapprove. While approval of the president’s war leadership has slumped, his overall approval remains high among the military.
Just as telling, in this year’s poll only 41% of the military said the U.S. should have gone to war in Iraq in the first place, down from 65% in 2003. That closely reflects the beliefs of the general population — 45% agreed in a recent USA TODAY-Gallup poll.
Only about one in five service members said large numbers of American troops can be replaced with Iraqi troops within the next two years. More than one-third think it will take more than five years. And more than half think the U.S. will have to stay in Iraq more than five years to achieve its goals.
Almost half of those responding think the United States needs more troops in Iraq. A surprising 13% said the U.S. should have no troops there.
As for Afghanistan force levels, 39% think we need more troops there. But while they want more troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, nearly three-quarters of the respondents think the military is stretched too thin to be effective.
Approval for Bush’s overall performance as president remains high, at 52%. That’s down from his high of 71% in 2004, but still far above the approval ratings of the general population, where that number has fallen into the 30s.