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Military.com Poll: War Support Waning
Military.com  |  By Christian Lowe  |  July 18, 2007
Nearly 60 percent of readers who participated in a recent Military.com poll said the United States should withdraw its troops from Iraq now or by the end of 2008.  More than 40 percent of the respondents agreed the pullout should begin immediately because "we're wasting lives and resources there."

A similar number of participants, however, felt that U.S. troops should remain in Iraq, with 41 percent of respondents concluding that America should fight "until the insurgency is totally defeated."

The online poll, conducted over three days starting July 10, was open to all Military.com readers. (Military.com membership was not a requirement to participate.)

More than 5,440 votes were cast in the poll that asked: "When should American troops withdraw from Iraq?"

Poll respondents were given three reply options: "The end of 2008. That's plenty of time," "Now. We're wasting lives and resources there" and "Not until the insurgency is totally defeated."

What to Make of a Poll?

The results stand in sharp contrast to a similar Military.com poll posted June 26 that asked "Should Congress give the Bush plan more time?"

After more than 500 votes, nearly 60 percent of participants agreed the surge should be given more time. In March, about one month after the extra forces began deploying to Iraq as part of the surge, nearly 70 percent of 1,150 respondents believed the increase would "help the overall war effort."

By a 60 percent margin Military.com readers said in a March 8 poll that Congress should stay out of the withdrawal deadline setting business.

The previous poll results expressing support for the surge - and the president's prerogative - stand in sharp contrast to the mid-July Military.com poll, which comes at a time of increasingly sharp nationwide debate over a withdrawal from Iraq.

Anti-war Democrats who want to begin a pullout immediately or within 120 days are staging a 24-hour filibuster in the Senate, trying to force a vote on a withdrawal amendment attached to the 2008 Pentagon authorization bill.

The Military.com online poll tracks closely with nationwide scientific surveys that show a strong majority of Americans now opposed to the surge of 30,000 combat troops and dwindling support for keeping U.S. forces in Iraq through next year.

Military.com poll participants offered a wide range of views on the current situation in Iraq, with some saying in online comments the war is lost and others holding firm with President Bush's strategy.

"This is not a war - it's an invasion - $12 billion a month, wasted lives, wasted resources, and not a damn thing has changed except the U.S. troop body count," writes Military.com reader with the screen name "leekujawa."

"Over 70 percent of the American people are against this whole nightmare and yet there is still no timetable for withdrawal," "leekujawa" continues. "The entire executive branch has thumbed its nose at the American people."

But others wondered how a withdrawal would look to those fighting U.S. troops.

"I wish someone would explain to me, in layman's terms, how it doesn't embolden our enemy when a politician gets on there soap box and demands time tables and says we're losing this war," writes "ryerye13B."

"Withdrawing from Iraq could be the biggest mistake. It's a disaster. You American (sic) must not let it happen ... Please be patient and strong as ever," adds "Merhdad_Tehran."

And some take a more moderate approach to the dilemma, stressing a change of mission more in line with calls to concentrate on training and counter-terrorism.

"Or we pull out, use the money for the war to bolster our forces and anti-terrorism capabilities and be ready to respond when [enemies] show themselves," writes "userArmy."

"Pulling back will increase the moral not just of the troops but the Americans back home, and that has proved to be just as important," the reader added. "Give Iraq time to sort itself out, the only way to come to a resolution is to see it play out, and then once we know who the bad guys actually are we hit them."

In a recent telephone press conference attended by Military.com, White House spokesman Tony Snow gave the administration's take on the waning public support for the war, directing blame squarely at the mainstream media:  "There is very little awareness of the kind of successes that have been going on and furthermore very few visuals of what Americans in their hearts want to believe . . . At this point all anyone has gotten is bad news and itís a miracle anybody supports the war based on the kind of characterizations that have been painted."

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