BTW, this poll is kind of dated, but to counter the critique from Murtha, it seems that veterans of THIS WAR overwhelmingly support what we're doing:
By Robert Hodierne
Times staff writer
Despite a year of ferocious combat, mounting casualties and frequent deployments, support for the war in Iraq remains overwhelming among the active-duty military, according to the 2004 Military Times Poll.
Sixty-three percent of respondents approve of the way President Bush is handling the war, and 60 percent remain convinced it is a war worth fighting. And support for the war is even greater among those who have served longest in the combat zone: Two-thirds of combat vets say the war is worth fighting.
But the men and women in uniform are under no illusions about how long they will be fighting in Iraq; nearly half said they expect to be there more than five years.
In addition, despite the pressures of a wartime military, 87 percent said they?re satisfied with their jobs and, given the choice today, only 25 percent said they would leave the service.
Compared to last year, support for the war and job satisfaction remain essentially unchanged.
Most surprisingly, a year ago 77 percent said they thought the military was stretched too thin to be effective. This year that number shrank to 66 percent.
The findings are part of the annual Military Times Poll, which this year included 1,423 active-duty subscribers to Air Force Times, Army Times, Navy Times and Marine Corps Times.
The subscribers were randomly surveyed by mail in late November and early December.
Subscribers to the four papers tend to be older, higher in rank and more career-oriented than the military as a whole. The poll has a margin of error of 2.6 percent.
Among the poll?s other findings:
? 75 percent oppose drafting men into the military.
? 60 percent blame Congress for the shortage of body armor in the combat zone.
? Only 12 percent think civilian Pentagon policymakers should be held accountable for abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
The support among the military for the Iraq war comes at a time when polls of the civilian population show a steady erosion of such support. In a Washington Post-ABC News poll released last week, for example, 56 percent of Americans said the Iraq war is not worth fighting and 58 percent said they disapproved of the way Bush is handling the war.
But you won?t find many doubters in the military ranks.
Air Force 2nd Lt. Brianne Walker, 24, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., said, ?Weapons of mass destruction or not, [Bush] was doing what he had to do to protect the people. We were the only ones willing to step up and do it.?
Army Sgt. Johanna Matlock at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, said if the United States hadn?t gone to war in Iraq, ?they would have come here. We?re fighting terrorists.?
Support for the war is strongest among those who have served the longest in the war zone. Two-thirds of those who have spent more than a year in the war zone say the United States should have gone to war, compared to 60 percent overall in the military sample.
The troops also are fully behind their commander in chief, giving him a 71 percent approval rating on overall handling of his job ? compared with only 48 percent among civilians, according to the Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Peter Feaver, a political science professor at Duke University and an expert on civil-military relations, says the poll shows that an ?anticipated military ?revolt? was not coming to pass.?
?While the military might make criticisms ? they remain committed to the enterprise and optimistic that they?ll see it through to victory.?
Feaver sees no ?Iraq syndrome akin to the Vietnam syndrome,? marked by alienation from both the war and its leadership.
He says the military today believes ?defeat (in Iraq) would be awful and victory is possible and that leads to the staying power you?re seeing. ? It?s reflecting a war-time survey of a military that still thinks it can win. ? When the military thinks it can?t win, that?s bad news.?
Survey respondents also were clear about the idea of a military draft: They don?t like it.
In addition to the 75 percent who said men should not be drafted, 83 percent rejected the idea of compulsory service for women, and 73 percent said returning to the draft would lower the quality of the force.
Nearly as many, 65 percent, said a draft would make it harder to maintain discipline.
In terms of job satisfaction, the military is comparable to the civilian world. In our poll, 37 percent of service members said they were completely satisfied and another 50 percent said they were somewhat satisfied. Among civilians, those numbers reverse, with 50 percent saying they are completely satisfied and 39 percent somewhat satisfied.
The aspect of military life that drew the most complaints: housing, with a quarter of respondents saying their military housing was poor or very poor.
But there?s no escaping other areas of concern. When asked who should be held accountable for shortages of body armor among deployed troops, respondents gave Congress the biggest share of the blame, 60 percent. But 49 percent said senior military officials also should be held accountable. Only 35 percent laid blame on the Bush administration.
Similarly, most respondents don?t believe responsibility for the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib should run uphill.
Respondents were asked to check boxes alongside as many different groups as they thought should be punished for the abuse. Some 74 percent thought the soldiers who committed the abuse should be punished and 67 percent said the officer in direct command of the prison should be punished.
But only 21 percent said high-level military commanders should be held accountable, and even fewer ? 12 percent ? thought civilian policymakers should share in the blame. The president, meanwhile, was almost blame-free: Only 3 percent named Bush.
Staff writers Joe Chennelly, Bruce Rolfsen, Mark Faram, Gordon Lubold and freelancer Jodi Upton contributed to this report.