U.S. Troops in Iraq: 72% Say End War in 2006. Why Don’t the Troops Support the Troops?

The war is over. Time to ride off into the sunset.

Here’s how the latest Zogby poll breaks down- interesting and frankly disturbing results.

• U.S. Troops in Iraq: 72% Say End War in 2006
o 29% of the respondents, serving in various branches of the armed forces, said the U.S. should leave Iraq “immediately”
o Another 22% said they should leave in the next six months.
o Another 21% said troops should be out between six and 12 months
o 23% said they should stay “as long as they are needed.”

• Poll splits along branch of service:
o While 89% of reserves and 82% of those in the National Guard said the U.S. should leave Iraq within a year, 58% of Marines think so.
o Seven in ten of those in the regular Army thought the U.S. should leave Iraq in the next year.
o Moreover, about three-quarters of those in National Guard and Reserve units favor withdrawal within six months, just 15% of Marines felt that way.
o About half of those in the regular Army favored withdrawal from Iraq in the next six months.

• The wide-ranging poll also shows that 58% of those serving in country say the U.S. mission in Iraq is clear in their minds
o 42% said it is either somewhat or very unclear to them, that they have no understanding of it at all, or are unsure.
o 85% said the U.S. mission is mainly “to retaliate for Saddam’s role in the 9-11 attacks.”
o 77% said they also believe the main or a major reason for the war was “to stop Saddam from protecting al Qaeda in Iraq.”
o “Ninety-three percent said that removing weapons of mass destruction is not a reason for U.S. troops being there,” said Pollster John Zogby, President and CEO of Zogby International. “Instead, that initial rationale went by the wayside and, in the minds of 68% of the troops, the real mission became to remove Saddam Hussein.”
o Just 24% said that “establishing a democracy that can be a model for the Arab World” was the main or a major reason for the war.
o Only small percentages see the mission there as securing oil supplies (11%) or to provide long-term bases for US troops in the region (6%).

• Plurality believes Iraqi insurgents are mostly homegrown
o The continuing insurgent attacks have not turned U.S. troops against the Iraqi population, the survey shows. More than 80% said they did not hold a negative view of Iraqis because of those attacks.
o About two in five see the insurgency as being comprised of discontented Sunnis with very few non-Iraqi helpers. “There appears to be confusion on this,” Zogby said. But, he noted, less than a third think that if non-Iraqi terrorists could be prevented from crossing the border into Iraq, the insurgency would end.
o A majority of troops (53%) said the U.S. should double both the number of troops and bombing missions in order to control the insurgency.

• Almost 90% think war is retaliation for Saddam’s role in 9/11, most don’t blame Iraqi public for insurgent attacks

• Majority of troops oppose use of harsh prisoner interrogation
o Four in five said they oppose the use of such internationally banned weapons as napalm and white phosphorous.
o And, even as more photos of prisoner abuse in Iraq surface around the world, 55% said it is not appropriate or standard military conduct to use harsh and threatening methods against insurgent prisoners in order to gain information of military value.

• Plurality of troops pleased with their armor and equipment
o A majority of the troops serving in Iraq said they were satisfied with the war provisions from Washington.
o Just 30% of troops said they think the Department of Defense has failed to provide adequate troop protections, such as body armor, munitions, and armor plating for vehicles like HumVees.
o Only 35% said basic civil infrastructure in Iraq, including roads, electricity, water service, and health care, has not improved over the past year.
o Three of every four were male respondents, with 63% under the age of 30.

• Asked why they think some Americans favor rapid U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq:
o 37% of troops serving there said those Americans are unpatriotic
o 20% believe people back home don’t believe a continued occupation will work.
o Another 16% said they believe those favoring a quick withdrawal do so because they oppose the use of the military in a pre-emptive war
o 15% said they do not believe those Americans understand the need for the U.S. troops in Iraq.

• Three quarters of the troops had served multiple tours and had a longer exposure to the conflict: 26% were on their first tour of duty, 45% were on their second tour, and 29% were in Iraq for a third time or more.

17 Comments so far

  1. Dave! (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 9:49 am

    Wow… when even a majority of Marines think it’s time to go.

    BTW, best post title ever! :)

  2. Gabe (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 10:44 am

    Let’s examine this for a second. If you were GIVEN THE OPTION of where you would rather be (either in Iraq or at home), which would you choose? This has nothing to do with troops supporting troops. If they were to be asked if they support the man standing next to them or if they would fight for that person, you can bet your ass the answer would be a “hooo-ahhh”.

    What we have here is a group of men and women that are ready to come home. They are tired of fighting and especially after doing 2 or 3 tours. So I don’t blame them for saying that the occupation should be ended in 2006. I blame you for twisting the survey or as the cliche goes “there are liars, damn liars, and statisticians.”

    I find it interesting that you didn’t point out that a majority of the troops said that people who “favor rapid U.S. withdrawl” are “unpatriotic”.

  3. nikkos (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 11:00 am


    Welcome back after a long hiatus from the comments.

    I for one could not be happier that you have turned to satire as opposed to your usual support of all thinggs related to Bush, Republicans and war. I know it’s been a long haul but I’m glad you’ve joined the antiwar side.

    I think at long last you’ve found your calling- keep it up, you’re one hell of a satirist. Pretending to actually believe what you wrote above just sells the joke that much more.

    I love how your comment anticipates and encapsulates all the right-ing talking points that will no doubt be brought to bear upon the rsults of this unbiased and scientific survey of our American fighting men and women. By bringing these talking points to light in such a satirical way, you render them effectively useless in terms of their rhetorical and political value.

    My favorite is: “If you were GIVEN THE OPTION of where you would rather be (either in Iraq or at home), which would you choose?” Zing!

    This is brilliant, yet subtle, satire because as anyone with two brain cells and a synapse can attest, the poll did not ask U.S. troops whether they would rather be in combat in iraq or having ice cream in the U.S. But only by willfully ignoring the substance of the poll can you attain such dazzling heights of satire.

    My second fave zinger is where you point out that many of the troops think that those of us at home that desire a quick end to the war are unpatriotic. Your impication of course, is that the 72% of American troops that wish to quickly end the war are unpatriotic as well.

    Why the troops would say such a thing about themselves is beyond me and my limited rhetorical skills. That’s why I’m glad we have such gifted thinkers such as yourself to show the rest of us the light and the way.

  4. khylek (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 11:31 am

    Nikkos: I just have to say that your response to Gabe is the second funniest thing I’ve read in a month. Bravo.

  5. nikkos (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 11:33 am


    Thanks for the support- it is much appreciated. However I have to ask- what was the number 1 funniest thing? Gabe’s comment?

  6. Gabe (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 12:07 pm

    my hiatus??? i’ve still been reading. you just haven’t had anything worth commenting on (at least not anything intelligent). zing!

    maybe u should leave the political commentary to the political pundits since u dont seem to have the knack for it. zing!

    as for my comment about choice (rather have ice cream or be in iraq), that is the substance or did you forget your title? zing!

    if u have something intelligent to say (without the snark), maybe u should just come out and say it instead of beating around the bush (pun intended). you’re “analysis” of the poll only shows your political bias. it seems that “the light” has gone out for u but i’ll be sure to help u find “the way” any time. no applause. just money please.

  7. Gabe (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 1:44 pm

    nikkos, all snark aside, we have a tendency to do this. we go round and round till we finally get tired of doing the dance and we get to the heart of the matter. i dont know if u do it for the benefit of ur readers or just to try and score a few points with the anti-war movement but let’s cut thru the BS and save everyone a long list of comments to read so that we can get back to our busy lives.

    what are you REALLY trying to say here? what is the heart of the matter here that urks you so much that you have to post a poll that u really have no interest in (other than making some vague point)? is it the war in general? is it bush and his justification for the war? is it that u werent loved enough as a child? please enlighten us.

  8. nikkos (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 2:12 pm

    No need to go around and around. You want a further explanation so can attempt to pick my statements apart, since you know full well there’s not a damn thing you can say to refute the opinions of American men and women that are actually in theater.

  9. Gabe (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 3:58 pm

    so let me get this straight, i did refute what was there and then i get treated to a big slice of snark?!?! i dont refute your opinion cause everyone is entitled to one and it was my point about us going round. what i do take exception to is your slant on the poll. u include certain facts and leave others out (like the “unpatriotic” question). and if u really want to get to the heart of the matter (which you see to be unwilling to do) u wanna use this to say “look, even our own troops think we should pull a hasty.” you take the first part of the poll and u use it to support ur own agenda/view but ignore the rest of it. is that a pretty fair analysis, mr war and peace?

  10. nikkos (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 4:10 pm

    To clarify, I included all the poll results in my post above, whether they are congruent with my own opinions or not.

    I reformatted the results in the form of bullet points in order to better orgnaize the data.

    I used the data point in question as the headline since it seems to me to be one of the most important and shocking revelations from the poll.

    Gabe, you are on the receiving end of my sarcasm as a result of your utterly absurd comment.

    How anyone can argue with these poll results is beyond me. Of course, you know that you can’t argue with the results either. You could argue that the methodology of the poll is flawed but you know this is a weak line of attack. Given your own background, you won’t chastise the troops for their opinions. So, you retreat to your last option: attempting to bait me into a silly debate.

    As for my “slant” on the poll results, particularly the fact that 72% of the troops polled say we should leave Iraq this year, how could I possibly “slant” this result? The implication is crystal clear, to anyone intelletcually honest enough to see it. Any other reading of the result- e.g., your interpretation above, is simply absurd, bordering on the satirical- thus my sarcastic riposte.

  11. Gabe (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 4:58 pm

    beauty is in the eye of the beholder or so i’m told. i guess beauty isnt the only thing but absurd could be included in there too. given ur lack of experience with the military, i’m not surprised that u are having trouble interpreting the results of the poll. i’m sure you’ve heard it before but statistical results can be twisted any which way u want them to or u seem to be no exception.

    i’m sure we’ve covered this ground before but for the sake of argument, we’ll cover it again. i spent 12 years with army. so i know what its like to want to be somewhere else other than the field. to want to be home in ur own bed with your spouse or significant other. to wish that other ppl could understand that part of ur life where u were in a foreign land facing danger but they will never get until they experience it themselves. so excuse me if i see a little different results in the poll than u!

    i see some troops who are tired and wanna come home. again, beauty….beholder or should i say experienced.

  12. nikkos (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 5:04 pm

    Gabe, that’s a gutless, bullshit cop-out and you know it. Hiding behind the uniform while those that are serving now sit in the sands of Iraq, watching civil war erupt alla round them. So much for intellectual honesty.

    To reiterate, the poll did not ask our troops if THEY PERSONALLY wanted to go home. Of course they do.

    Rather, the poll asked what the future of UNITED STATES involvement in Iraq should be. And 72% said we should end this war and our military involvement in Iraq by the end of this year.

  13. Gabe (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 6:19 pm

    u can call it bullshit and a cop-out all u want but i dont see u wearing the uniform nor have u ever done so. whats bullshit is the fact that u have the gale to call me gutless when ur the one that has never put the uniform on. since i’ve worn the uniform i would say that i actually have more courage than u since i was willing to defend my country with more than just words. at least i was willing to do more for my country than just write a blog about how bad this country’s government is. call it cocky. call it arrogant. i dont care. until u wear the uniform, u will never understand the mindset or the experiences. walk a mile in the combat boots dude.

    and i dont see how its hiding behind it when i’m rather proud of the fact that i wore the uniform and i served my time and my country. i wear that badge on my sleeve even if that sleeve is now a civilian uniform.

    and ur going to tell me that personal opinion DOES NOT influence your response on a poll?!?! u really are ignorant if u truly believe that every response on a poll is objective and unbiased. that’s the point of a poll: to get a public OPINION on an issue. so keep burying ur head in the sand.

    “Those who have fought for it know Freedom has a distinct flavor the protected will never know.”

  14. bassoholic (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 11:02 pm

    Wow Gabe. Everyone reading this has no doubt of the courage it takes to join and serve in the United States military. That’s not the point. Take yourself out of that mindset for a minute and read the poll. I mean READ it. Nikkos isn’t skewing anything. There are some startling statistics in there, as painful as it may be for a former soldier to hear.

  15. nikkos (unregistered) on March 2nd, 2006 @ 9:10 am

    Gabe, I think you’ve proven my point regarding my comment “hiding behind the uniform.”

    As a veteran and a supporter of the war in Iraq, are you honestly going to sit there and tell me that these poll results don’t alarm and disturb you? Are you really going to claim that these results are invalid, nothing to worry about, that everything’s fine and dandy and victory is just around the next corner (or the next one), past the light at the end of the tunnel, just past the last throes? What, do you think the troops surveyed were all members of the 4th ID, Liberal Battalion? I have asserted before that this war- no war- can be won without the support of the American public. How can we win a war that even our TROOPS think we should end?

  16. Ben2 (unregistered) on March 2nd, 2006 @ 12:16 pm

    So what does this poll prove? What point are the anti-war crowd people drawing from it?

    Do I think we should permanently occupy Iraq? No! I think we should have less or no troops in most of the countries we still have troops in. I think we still have more troops in Germany than in Iraq… isn’t that weird?

    But what does this mean? Troops and the populace of the US think the troops need to come home in the next year or sooner. And seeing how the Iraqis are becoming independent and their defense forces are doing the bulk of the work… why wouldn’t we come home soon?

  17. Gabe (unregistered) on March 3rd, 2006 @ 11:36 am

    I apologize. I can get defensive about the uniform and I find it hard at times to accept criticism from those who have never worn it.

    I still refute your point Nikkos. I disagree with you that you can’t refute the poll when that’s exactly what I’ve done. Opinion is what makes a poll a poll and I think there is an underlying motivation for their response. I think that we could be out soon since we have trained so many of the Iraqi forces to defend their own country and there’s no reason in my mind to not pull them out soon but I agree with Bush that we should wait till the commanders on the ground say it’s time.

    I do agree with you that it is very difficult to win a war without public support but yet its still being done. Will miracles never cease!

    And I disagree with the civil war comment. I think that civil war could happen at any time but I don’t think that it’s happening right now.

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