A new poll to be released today shows that U.S. soldiers overwhelmingly want out of Iraq â€” and soon.
The poll is the first of U.S. troops currently serving in Iraq, according to John Zogby, the pollster. Conducted by Zogby International and LeMoyne College, it asked 944 service members, “How long should U.S. troops stay in Iraq?”
Only 23 percent backed Mr. Bush’s position that they should stay as long as necessary. In contrast, 72 percent said that U.S. troops should be pulled out within one year. Of those, 29 percent said they should withdraw “immediately.”
That’s one more bit of evidence that our grim stay-the-course policy in Iraq has failed. Even the American troops on the ground don’t buy into it â€” and having administration officials pontificate from the safety of Washington about the need for ordinary soldiers to stay the course further erodes military morale.
While the White House emphasizes the threat from non-Iraqi terrorists, only 26 percent of the U.S. troops say that the insurgency would end if those foreign fighters could be kept out. A plurality believes that the insurgency is made up overwhelmingly of discontented Iraqi Sunnis.
Kristoff’s ensuing and predictable argument that we must not withdraw prematurely is neither here nor there — the numbers are what’s interesting here. If this is true, then it pretty much belies the constant refrain that the troops on the ground overwhelmingly support the war because they see the progress the lying liberal media won’t report. (The soldier-bloggers may remain gung-ho, but that’s a self-selecting group.)