Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The right seems to have projected their own feelings for the past two C-in-C's onto the troops.

It is almost a point of no dispute among Republicans that active duty military almost unanimously support the President and his policy, and with pretty much the same level of confidence they will tell you about how much most active duty military hated Bill Clinton (remember Jesse Helms once joking in very poor taste, on November 22 of all days, that if President Clinton visited military troops at Fort Bragg, he'd need a bodyguard?)

Well, sometimes those cherished paradigms are hard to let go of. But let go of them, the Republicans will have to sooner or later. I blogged last week about how the President's support and approval for the Iraq war have both fallen significantly among active duty military (although to be fair, these numbers are still significantly higher, by 15-20%, than they are for the population as a whole). Only 54%, a bare majority, even say that they still support the President's mission in Iraq.

OK, so the troops as a whole still support Bush, but by a margin that no one on the right would be willing to admit to (I've asked rightist bloggers about this, and they still claim it is about 80% or 90% when you can get them to throw a number at you).

And what about Clinton? The man who Jesse Helms figured needed a bodyguard around troops? Well, if today's chance encounter is any indication, our troops not only don't hate President Clinton, they genuinely like him.

Former President Bill Clinton surprised U.S. troops from Iraq when his refueling stop at the Bangor International Airport coincided with their arrival....

"Thank you for your service," Clinton said as he shook hands and hugged many of the troops. He autographed hats, cards and other items.

Clinton had some fun when Army Spc. Joshua Ruschenberg used a cell phone provided by troop greeters to call to his sister-in-law, Shancy Garrison, in North Carolina. He handed over the phone to the former commander in chief.

"Hi, Shancy, it's Bill Clinton," the former president said into the phone.

The troops, about 600 of them, were returning to bases in Oklahoma, Texas and Georgia. Their two chartered aircraft had landed for fuel.

"This is great," Staff Sgt. Anthony Thompson of New York City told the Bangor Daily News.

Sounds like Jesse can forget about the body guard. They like Clinton.

Must grate on the ears of some on the right to even entertain the thought.


Anonymous said...

A bit of nice news. Like a breath of fresh air. Ahhh!

Chuck said...

I read that story. Carl picked it up too.

Thanks Eli. I agree with Barbi.

And Jesse Helms- SHUDDER!

Lily said...

If they say it enough, it becomes fact, dontcha know?
Eli, thank you for your thoughtful posts and comments on mine. Your writing is very direct and to the point, an appreciated part of the 'truth' community.
The question of military support for the 'regime' is one that perplexes me. Our government has a history of treating vets like shit, jerking them around with benefits, testing on them, exposing them to toxins, not outfitting them with safety gear or with flawed gear (giving a false sense of safety) They are not forthcoming on matters of DU and the recruiters are often not open with potential enlistees...there's the homelessness rate, the psychological needs...
Worse, they are all sent thoughtlessly to their deaths for this supposed noble cause. Why do they support them as much as they do given these things? Why the blanket respect for those that offer little seemingly in their direction?

Eli Blake said...

Well, Lily, that is part of the point of the post-- they are starting to not support him in large numbers.

If 54% support the Iraq mission, then that means that 46% do not, or at least are unsure. They all heard him and Cheney saying two years ago that it would be over 'in weeks,' and they all heard his mission accomplished speech on May 1, 2003, claiming it was over, and now 2000 deaths later and with no end in sight, they are questioning what exactly his policy in Iraq is (whatever it is, it looks absolutely unlike what it was when we started the war).

Now, considering that people who join the military are often from rural (conservative) areas, and that the military traditionally has supported their C-in-C, for that many to question his leadership is actually pretty remarkable. And the fact that so many of them seem to be fond of Clinton (who quite a few of them did also serve under) is also pretty telling, especially since so many conservatives claim that military members don't like him at all.

Anonymous said...

Well I guess its all in how you look at it, true from one view in its historical context the numbers are high, relatively speaking. But given the situation, I wonder that it isn't far lower! I understand you are taking a more realistic view and comparing the numbers to the typical, or expected, given the military demographics and patterns.
I get that.
I guess I am saying that I still think the support is higher than it should be and certainly not reflective of the egregious,exploitive behaviors.

dorsano said...

There is one big problem with polling the U.S. Military

Most of the people who serve will always reach down deep inside themselves to give whatever takes to complete their mission no matter how incompetent their leadership.

That's just the way the people who serve are and it's something that we should all be thankful for.

It's too easy for people who are willing to put their lives on the line for something we've called on them to do, to place their trust in us.

And that's something that we should all be thankful for.

Polls such as these generally don't distinquish between the leadership and the mission - though this one does it seems (I'm not sure about the others).

The U.S. Military has almost from the get go been critical of the Pentagon. I don't see the erosion of support for the mission among the U.S. military as good news.

I see it as a failure of those they serve.

Eli Blake said...


The military isn't so critical of the Pentagon (who are still military), it is their civilian leadership. The generals have pretty much done their jobs. Don't forget it was Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki who advised before the war that 400,000 troops would be needed during the occupation period to prevent an insurgency from taking root. Donald Rumsfeld, a fiscal conservative wanted to prove we could do the same thing by spending less, and wanted 100,000. Gen. Casey, who was less blunt than Shinseki, managed to talk Rumsfeld up to 150,000.

But the loss of confidence isn't in their generals, it is with the civilian leadership of Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld.