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Military Speaks About Bush Administration

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Families Speak


What Military Families Think of the Bush Administration

by: Brandon Friedman

Fri Dec 07, 2007 at 01:20:21 AM EST


Way back in the day, many of us voted for George W. Bush. Personally, I cast that fateful vote for him in 2000--when I was 22 years old, and just over a month away from being commissioned as an Army officer. I figured I was doing my duty. I thought that Republicans supported the military.

But I didn't make the same mistake in 2004. After one deployment to Afghanistan and another to Iraq, I'd finally learned my lesson.

But some of us who've served in Iraq, like former Marine Kent Fletcher, took longer to see the light. An active member of VoteVets, Kent only turned on the Bush administration in 2006. In an article today, Bloomberg covered Kent's transition from being vehemently pro-Bush administration, to being one of its harshest critics. Along with new poll data, the article uses Kent as a case study to examine how military families' support for the Bush administration has eroded throughout the course of the war.

The lesson of the Bloomberg piece is this: On a long enough timeline (and despite what they say), the Bush administration will piss off and alienate every single living member of the United States military and every single living member of their families.

Details below. . . .

Brandon Friedman :: What Military Families Think of the Bush Administration
The Bloomberg piece, written by Christopher Stern, is based on a Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll of active-duty military, veterans and their families. The pollsters found what we in this community already know: Bush administration policies have been disastrous for the U.S. military. Here are some of the highlights:
Among active-duty military, veterans and their families, only 36 percent say it was worth going to war in Iraq. This compares with an Annenberg survey taken in 2004, one year after the invasion, which showed that 64 percent of service members and their families supported the war.

The views of veterans and their families are now closer in line with overall public sentiment. The poll shows that 32 percent of the general population supports the war.

64 percent down to 36 percent--and this is after the surge. This is called "cratering." As in, military families' support for the Iraq War is "cratering."

The poll conducted Nov. 30-Dec. 3 also finds that 37 percent of military-family members approve of the job Bush is doing as president, a little more than the general population. The 2004 poll by the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School of Communications in Philadelphia found that twice as many military families approved of Bush's performance.

No surprise there.

The same trend holds true on the question of the treatment of active-duty military, veterans and their families. The poll finds that only 29 percent of all poll respondents say they believe the Bush administration is doing a good job handling those needs. Among military families, who directly benefit from those programs, 35 percent say the administration is doing a good job.

Translated: Two out of three military families think the Bush administration treats them poorly. Big surprise? No.

At the same time, a plurality of military-family members, 39 percent, say they believe Democrats are likely to do a better job handling those issues, compared with 35 percent for Republicans.

Think about that for a second. More military family members think Democrats are better at handling military issues than Republicans. My question is this: How absolutely fucked up as an administration do you have to be to create a situation like that in the wake of 9/11?

The answer? Pretty fucked up, I guess. I mean, these guys have turned an ardently pro-Republican military into a huge bloc of Democratic voters.

In 2005, Fletcher, the Marine who switched party affiliations, published an editorial in the Huntington, West Virginia Herald-Dispatch newspaper scolding critics of Bush, who he said were also insulting the U.S. fighting forces.

``You don't have to spit on an Iraqi war veteran physically to spit on one metaphorically,'' he wrote. ``We are part and the same with the president's administration.''

Fletcher is now a member of Votevets.org, a group that promotes political candidates, particularly veterans who are critical of the Bush administration's Iraq war policies.

That shift in Fletcher's view may reflect a broader trend in the military about dissent. The Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll finds that 58 percent of military families -- the same margin as the overall population -- believe it is appropriate for retired military personnel to criticize Bush even in a time of war.

I'd like to hear everyone's thoughts on this. And I'd love to hear from any Bush administration-supporting troops or veterans who are lurking here. I'd be interested to hear why you're holding out. Seriously.

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On the GOP... (4.00 / 2)
...I admit I liked the GOP back when Clinton was in office. I thought they stood for small government and a good defense policy that our constitution calls for. That makes a lot of sense to me, and seemed to be what our country needed. Man, do I feel stupid. After 9/11 they convinced people to stay in their homes and continue their shopping sprees. They encouraged fear in the American mind with irrational threats of homespun terrorism, while real terrorism began to grow in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the middle East. The war in Iraq was a huge misendeavor (the biggest understatement ever). However, I think the strategy we have now is the best way to get out of this mess (I know I will be argued with about this, but I do think it is), but I'm afraid Bush is going to change the strategy to favor a long-term presence in the name of various corporate interests. He's starting to talk tough about war with Iran, despite the fact that ADM Mullen (head of the Joint Chiefs), ADM Fallon (head of CENTCOM), and the Secretary of Defense favor a much more diplomatic approach (and don't forget the NIE). Bush's pandering to a small minority of evangelical voters is, frankly, a little creepy with some of his domestic policies. Our country is in worse debt, our military's in bad shape, etc. No I don't think I like Mr. George Bush. I used to like the party of smaller government and common sense policies, but the neo-cons took over and I felt like I got stabbed in the back. Yet , I still haven't heard a good strategy on Iraq and Afghanistan from any of the presidential hopefuls, so I'm keeping my voting options open. Have they even talked about Iraq yet?

by: LT Nixon @ Fri Dec 07, 2007 at 04:42:30 AM CST
LIAR LIAR LIAR (4.00 / 1)
Let's face facts. Since entering our troops into harm's way, George Bush and Dick Cheney and ALL Neocons associated with the Administration and not associated with the Administration especially Rush Limbaugh have conscientiously lied to all of us american people following the tragic 9-11 event. And they have all done so year after year to this point, so what is another year's difference going to make? But I am sick and tired of having the constitution twisted to fit the convenient needs of Bush and Cheney and all them folks in charge in Washington. They have lied to us all on Iraq, Iran (this weeks NIE report, for example) and Bush still condemns and saber rattles against Iran and will probably continue to do so until he exits the whitehouse. How convenient for a president to wage a war until the very end of his term and then dump it into another president's lap? The arrogance of the Bush Administration is just beyond belief. From the exiting of the Habeous Corpeus to the Warrentless Wire Taps, to the confounding of the 4th Amendment to the constitution, nothing speaks of arrogance like Dick Cheney and George W. Bush. I hear that Texans don't even want him back. So he has a presidential library on SMU in Dallas but his home will be in Arizona. How sad.

by: NHTimberwolf1965 @ Fri Dec 07, 2007 at 08:46:38 AM CST
[ Parent ]
NHTimberwolf... (0.00 / 0)
...I'm confused. Are you calling me a liar or the neo-cons? I've been a little self-consious lately, and I'm used to people on some of the other discussion boards I won't name saying I need to "resign my commission" because I don't believe in the President's foreign policy agenda. But yes I think the Bush Administration has been horrendous. I only support the current strategy in Iraq because I think it's the best way out of a bad situation, and I haven't heard another viable one from our civilian leadership, however I am very open to suggestions. But I sure as hell don't want a war with Iran.

by: LT Nixon @ Fri Dec 07, 2007 at 10:31:41 AM CST
[ Parent ]
All good points LT. This is not a knock on you but an appropriate (4.00 / 1)
place for me to mention something EVERYBODY fails to mention when we discuss Bush's saber rattling against Iran. Is he insane. Our military is decimated with PTSD, TBI, mental health issues, if all is added at least 20% of all branches (that totals 2.5 million) are diasbaled to some degree. Oh and the big one NOBODY seems to mention CZAR Putin said and I quote, "military action of any kind against Iran will not be tolerated". He might as well have said what he meant and that is the full military might of Russia will be behind Iran if the USA attacks them. Iran has given russia huge amounts of oil and 8 billion dollars, yes, $8 billion. Russia is helping them complete their nuclear facilities and Putin came out and said in your face USA we are gonna help Iran with their nuclear progam. We have the greatest military on earth but we are NOT in any condition to go up against Russia right now. Declaring the revolutionary guard as a terrorist organization could be twisted by Bush as an authorization for war against them. Putin is absolutely trying to return Russia to even before communism but back to the time of the CZAR's, he will be the CZAR. He is ex KGB and so is every high ranking official in Russia. Their hatred of the USA did not just disappear with peristroika in 1991....Russia is known to be willing to sacrifice every single body in their military for victory. It is complete insanity to even talk about military action against Iran. Bush is mentally unstable and has this unbelievable desire to leave a legay for history to see him as a great president. IMHO opinion he believe that is through making the middle east a democracy, he is insane.
You can read my diary on dailykos about many many things Putin has done.. He is positioning Russia to be more powerful on the world stage than during the cold war. I know a little about this. My wife is Russian, my in laws are still there. I study russian history and politics. Putin IS going to be Prime Minister when he leaves office in the spring. He recently passed a law reducing the presidents powers and passing them to PM. I don't care what face he puts on he and all his KGB buddies HATE the USA. What is Putin up to? Dictator? Czar? More about Russia
http://www.dailykos.com/story/...

"I think that people want peace so much that one of these days government had better get out of their way and let them have it." Dwight D. Eisenhower

by: TominMaine @ Fri Dec 07, 2007 at 09:44:46 AM CST
[ Parent ]

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