Poll: 70% of troops say no more boots on the ground in Iraq

Military Times – by Andrew Tilghman with Gina Harkins, David Larter, Stephen Losey, Hope Hodge Seck, Michelle Tan and Jeff Schogol

As the tide of war rises again in the Middle East, the military’s rank and file are mostly opposed to expanding the new mission in Iraq and Syria to include sending a large number of U.S. ground troops into combat, according to a Military Times survey of active-duty members.

On the surface, troops appear to support President Obama’s repeated vows not to let the U.S. military get “dragged into another ground war” in Iraq. Yet at the same time, the views of many service members are shaped by a deep ambivalence about this commander in chief and questions about his ability to lead the nation through a major war, according to the survey and interviews.  

The reader survey asked more than 2,200 active-duty troops this question: “In your opinion, do you think the U.S. military should send a substantial number of combat troops to Iraq to support the Iraqi security forces?” Slightly more than 70 percent responded: “No.”

“It’s their country, it’s their business. I don’t think major ‘boots on the ground’ is the right answer,” said one Army infantry officer and prior-enlisted soldier who deployed to Iraq three times. He responded to the survey and an interview request but, like several other service members in this story, asked not to be named because he is not authorized to discuss high-level military policy.

The Military Times survey was conducted online this summer and concluded in August just as President Obama was ramping up the air campaign against the Islamic State group.

As the U.S. expands that air war into Syria and increases the number of U.S. boots on the ground in Iraq — topping more than 1,700 total — service members say their feelings about the crisis and the U.S. response to it haveintensified.

In barracks and staff offices, on smoke breaks and over after-hours beers, troops’ conversations about Iraq have shifted abruptly from reflections on the past to questions about the future that are fraught with concerns about the wisdom and scope of new missions. Troops are raising new questions about why the U.S. withdrew from Iraq in 2011, what went wrong and why.

Many simply wonder why anyone should think the long-term outcome will be any different this time.

“It’s kind of futile in the end — regardless of how well we do our job, the Iraqi government isn’t going to be able to hold up,” Marine 2nd Lt. Christopher Fox said.

And many share the views of one Navy hospital corpsman second class at Camp Pendleton, California, who said his multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan have taken a toll on him mentally, physically and personally.

“We’re burned out,” he said.

New pessimism

The dire headlines this summer about the near-collapse of the Iraqi army have fueled a new level of pessimism about the eight-year Iraq War that concluded almost three years ago.

Only 30 percent of active-duty troops surveyed say the Iraq War was “very successful” or “somewhat successful.” That’s down from about 64 percent who expressed positive views in a similarly worded question in 2011 as the war was winding down.

“It’s a kick in the rear because [the Iraqi extremists] are making a comeback and everything I did was for naught. … Those are some of the thoughts that go through my head,” said Marine Sgt. Darrell Priestley, 39, a combat engineer who deployed to Iraq in 2009.

Questions about the value of the eight-year mission in Iraq are reaching the highest levels of the military command.

Responding to a question about morale in a recent interview, Marine Gen. John Kelly said, “It’s certainly an emotional moment for anyone who has ever been there. I’d say to Marines: ‘We don’t get a vote. We go where the nation sends us. Our job is to win — we won.’ ”

To some degree, military opinions track those of the broader civilian world, which also reflect an increasingly negative view of the war. Yet service members are unlikely to question the reasons for invading Iraq in 2003 or the execution of the eight-year combat operation. Instead, they focus their pessimism on the stewardship of Iraq after U.S. troops withdrew in 2011 — both by the Iraqi government as well as the Obama administration, which has essentially taken a hands-off approach to Iraq for nearly three years.

“If you piece all of those together, what you get is a military viewpoint something like the following: We left something like success behind, and since then events since then have wrecked that,” said Peter Feaver, a professor and military expert at Duke University.

“The majority of the military would probably reject the interpretation that, ‘Oh, this was a chimera in 2011, this was fake success.’ I think they would say ‘No, it was real, but it was undone.’ ”

At the center of those debates is the commander in chief, and renewed criticism of Obama for his decision to withdraw completely in 2011. Some military leaders wanted to keep a residual force of 10,000 to 20,000 troops.

At the time, that decision was driven by the Iraq parliament’s refusal to approve a status of forces agreement granting legal protections to U.S. troops. Nevertheless, many service members believe the current crisis in Iraq may have been avoided if Obama was more aggressive about securing approval for a substantive residual U.S. force beyond 2011.

“I know there are other political issues, but for our job, we should have stayed until it was secure,” said Army Capt. Eric Hatch, a logistics officer at Fort Bliss, Texas. “I think we were close to being done [in 2011], but I think we could have stayed another year or two. If you’re going to commit troops to do a mission, you should stay until the mission is complete.”

Go big or not at all

Opponents of an expanded mission fall into two camps. Some troops think the U.S. should simply stay out of the conflagration engulfing the Middle East. But others take a more nuanced view.

One Air Force lieutenant colonel said he supports taking the fight to the Islamic State militants, even if that involves a large number of U.S. combat troops. But he worries that the country’s leadership will not completely see the mission through.

“If we do it halfheartedly, we shouldn’t do it at all,” he said, adding that America should expand its military mission in Iraq “only if we’re committed to complete victory.”

“I’m not hearing that now,” he said. “There’s political fear of blowback for making such a declaration. War, as ugly as it is, should be done in a very overwhelming and clear fashion.”

Troops intuitively understand that final decisions ultimately land on Obama’s desk. And support for Obama within the military — never especially high — has dropped significantly since he took office, according to the Military Times survey. In 2009, 35 percent of service members approved of the way Obama was “handling of his job as commander in chief.” This year, that figure dropped below 15 percent.

That lack of support for Obama may underpin some service members’ views on Iraq today, Feaver said.

“It’s very hard to mobilize the military to follow an uncertain trumpet,” he said in an interview after reviewing the results of the Military Times poll. “If they have doubts about the commander in chief, they are going to have doubts about a major military operation.

“It is possible that the military is making a judgment that while a different president might be committed to a major operation, this president is not — so there is no reason to do one,” Feaver said.

Active-duty members may be more opposed to sending troops back to Iraq compared with veterans of the Iraq War who have left the military, said Yinon Weiss, founder of Rally Point, an online military community where hundreds of members are involved in various discussions about the U.S. military action in Iraq and now Syria.

“Most veterans we see on [Rally Point] are very supportive of boots on the ground,” said Weiss, a former Army Special Forces officer. “I would say with service members, it is much more mixed, in that many question whether the U.S. military has the endurance to potentially open up a new ground front.”

“But [for] those who were in Iraq … there’s this kind of notion of, ‘We don’t want our previous gains and losses to be in vain.’ ”

That logic doesn’t hold water for Fox, a junior officer and prior-enlisted Marine who deployed twice to Iraq.

“A lot of people have that ‘sunken cost’ mentality — ‘Since we put so much into it, we can’t pull out right now,’ ” he said. “That is not a good argument for anything.”


5 thoughts on “Poll: 70% of troops say no more boots on the ground in Iraq

  1. 80% said no banker bailouts, and whether you like him or not, Ron Paul had more momentum than both Romney and Obama… So WTF does it matter what the people think anymore???

    1. It don’t matter on bit and still some delusional fools still think that it does. They believe the lies and BS that comes over the TV set by the MSM traitors that keep the pot full of stupid cooking for the sheep to get their free food from and wash it all down with a glass full of fluoride and a few after dinner SSRI’s before bed!

  2. Lets see:

    – In 1990, the Administration decided in a meeting attended by then Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neal, that they intended to take over seven or more Middle Eastern countries within five years, Libya, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan. This, General Wesley Clark, also later revealed. What was also the meat of the meeting was that they needed some serious excuses to invade these countries.
    – The CIA had been organizing Mujahadeen forces in Afghanistan against Russia, and up to 1990, had been financing them with over 600 million a year. The Mujahadeen later, under constant reorganization due to the change of leaders, infighting, etc, morphed into the Taliban, then Al-quad-ea and now into ISIS, still all trained, financed and supported by the CIA and the new leader, Bagdadhi, is a Jew and member of MOSSAD. Note here that the Saudi Royal Family, were originally Jews who converted to Islam in the early 1900’s [ Marranos = Jews who fake conversion to other faith’s in order to hide their identity and mission and to continue to undermine those they have infiltrated, religions, governments and social institutions].
    – The Administration, under the influence and “guidance” of major oil company’s and the International Bankers (Judeo-Freemasony), had come up with the idea of “PNAC” which is the Project of a New America Century.
    Here it was agreed among the Administration, noted Journalists, and elites, being that America was unequaled by its military forces, that we should now use that force and power to both take over and control the Middle East and all Oil, Gas and Mineral deposits. And the bankers were even more alarmed to find out that Saddan intended to bypass the American Oil transit and sell his oil for other than American dollars, thus eliminating the Federal Reserve; Kadaffy, also had intended to make Libya self dependent and to print their own money, even planning to issue gold coin for everyday commerce, which would also eliminate the Western banking establishment.
    – What in fact was happening was that International Jewry and Freemasonry, who control and own the major corporations, the Federal Reserve and the real power, intended to use the might of America, its resources and young men to confiscate the riches of the Middle East and to install a number of puppet governments under CIA and Western Control.
    – Secondly, several Middle East countries were needed to be under our control and authority in order to finish building pipelines and connections from the Caspian Sea (Georgia) through Afghanistan, Syria, Lebonon to Israel; all the Middle East countries would connect to this pipeline and its operation giving total control to Israel, the Jewish Bankers and the Jewish-
    Freemasonic powers, of all the wealth and profit in the Middle East.
    – We needed an excuse to intervene and start the process of annexing these countries to America’s and Israel’s elite.
    – Ambassador Gilespie to Iraq, had a meeting with Saddam, who asked if it was ok with the President to attack Kuwiat which had been stealing Iraqi oil at the border for years. Ambassador Gilespies, after contacting D.C. told Saddam it was none of our business and to go with his plans – two days later we declared war on Iraq. In Afghanistan, an America delegation of both private company’s and government officials told the Taliban that unless they ok’d a pipeline under our conditions, we would “bomb them to kingdom Come”. Later Osama Bin Ladin fled to Afghanistan where they, the Taliban agreed to turn him over to “European” authorities, but America said, no way, our way, give him to us or we attack, and of course we capitalized on the Twin Towers.
    – Most now know that the MOSSAD and a “rogue” element withing our CIA under Cheny’s direction, set up 9/11, otherwise it was entirely an inside job.
    – Not all has gone well, delays, Muslims that double crossed us and each other, the complicated infighting between different Muslim factions, bribes, corruption, all have had there part in delaying the original planning and objective. Iraq has ushered us out, other than using what they can of our resources to keep the present leaders in power, and we are slowly being ushered out of Afghanistan. With Syria and Iran still not under our control.
    – Thus “ISIS”. We needed an excuse to get back into the Middle East and to finish the original plans. With ISIS it was intended to unify America and the West into reorganizing and reinserting into the Middle East.
    – But how to finish off Iran and Syria, the two most needed countries for the complete control of the Oil, gas and minerals.
    – It has been reported that Obama and some of his Administration had a secret meeting with a “certain” Congressman and a consortium of very powerful bankers and others. At this meeting as it started Obama, it was said, initially with a loud voice, started to warn to leave Islam alone and that Islam was not our enemy. This “senator” and his companions, then, it was said, read the riot act to Obama and his Administration, after which Obama left the room in a charge. Ten minutes later he came back in and then agreed to their terms. It has been said that Valerie Jarret, (Iranian Jew and Marxist), his closest advisor convinced Obama to return and agree to the terms, which were: That he had five to six month to attack and take over Iran and Syria or else they would dump all the evidence of Obama’s many criminal actions, that they would have him impeached and incarcerated with most of his Administration, if this doe not happen very soon.
    – So now Obama has to find a valid excuse and muster support to invade and attack Syria and then to invade and attack Iran – Six months maximum.

    To attack Syria, much of the propaganda has already being layed out and most American’s are in the dark but support the “fight against this horrible terrorism”, all orchestrated for the most part by the CIA. But how do you the excuse to attack Iran. Iran has a formidable army that is twice the size of Iraq’s and Afghanistan’s together, with much more sophisticated weaponry and a very highly trained modern army. We shall see.

    The above is all documented, explained and layed out in hundreds of sources but let me add to the last intention of attacking Iran and an excuse.

    In Catholic prophecy, among many other dire warnings of major events about to happen in both the Church and world are some prophecies that say that one or two nukes are set off in NYC in the very early spring of a year (this would be about six months from now), and it would be blamed on Iran. With this event, the media and government can have America in arms and attacking without thinking in a matter of days, to say the least, and there is their excuse in bold.

    Get ready for even much more to happen even before “early spring”.

    1. April 4, 2015 is the third blood moon which is in the Spring of next year or almost six months from now. (Before that, there is one on October 8, 2014 and the fourth and last being on September 28, 2015) Maybe the Zionists want him to do something by April in order to fulfill their ritual blood moon prophecy.

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