[Note from CarlD: Here's
the release, straight from Zogby, on the controversial new poll
showing, essentially, that most of the troops in Iraq are in tune with
the antiwar movement. So keep up the outreach to the soldiers and their
families, the 'soft underbelly' of the Bush 'mandate', such as it is.]
Released: February 28, 2006
U.S. Troops in Iraq: 72 percent Say End War in 2006
* Le Moyne College/Zogby Poll shows just one in five troops want to
heed Bush call to stay 'as long as they are needed'
* While 58 percent say mission is clear, 42 percent say U.S. role is
* Plurality believes Iraqi insurgents are mostly homegrown
* Almost 90 percent 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
* Plurality of troops pleased with their armor and equipment
An overwhelming majority of 72 percent of American troops serving in
Iraq think the U.S. should exit the country within the next year, and
nearly one in four say the troops should leave immediately, a new Le
Moyne College/Zogby International survey shows.
The poll, conducted in conjunction with Le Moyne College’s Center for
Peace and Global Studies, showed that 29 percent of the respondents,
serving in various branches of the armed forces, said the U.S. should
leave Iraq 'immediately,' while another 22 percent said they should
leave in the next six months. Another 21 percent said troops should be
out between six and 12 months, while 23 percent said they should stay
'as long as they are needed.'
Different branches had quite different sentiments on the question, the
poll shows. While 89 percent of reserves and 82 percent of those in the
National Guard said the U.S. should leave Iraq within a year, 58
percent of Marines think so. Seven in ten of those in the regular Army
thought the U.S. should leave Iraq in the next year. Moreover, about
three-quarters of those in National Guard and Reserve units favor
withdrawal within six months, just 15 percent of Marines felt that way.
About half of those in the regular Army favored withdrawal from Iraq in
the next six months.
The troops have drawn different conclusions about fellow citizens back
home. Asked why they think some Americans favor rapid U.S. troop
withdrawal from Iraq, 37 percent of troops serving there said those
Americans are unpatriotic, while 20 percent believe people back home
don’t believe a continued occupation will work. Another 16 percent said
they believe those favoring a quick withdrawal do so because they
oppose the use of the military in a pre-emptive war, while 15 percent
said they do not believe those Americans understand the need for the
U.S. troops in Iraq.
The wide-ranging poll also shows that 58 percent of those serving in
country say the U.S. mission in Iraq is clear in their minds, while 42
percent said it is either somewhat or very unclear to them, that they
have no understanding of it at all, or are unsure. While 85 percent
said the U.S. mission is mainly 'to retaliate for Saddam’s role in the
9-11 attacks,' 77 percent said they also believe the main or a major
reason for the war was 'to stop Saddam from protecting al Qaeda in
'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 percent of the
troops, the real mission became to remove Saddam Hussein.' Just 24
percent said that 'establishing a democracy that can be a model for the
Arab World" was the main or a major reason for the war. Only small
percentages see the mission there as securing oil supplies (11 percent)
or to provide long-term bases for US troops in the region (6 percent).
The continuing insurgent attacks have not turned U.S. troops against
the Iraqi population, the survey shows. More than 80 percent said they
did not hold a negative view of Iraqis because of those attacks. 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. A majority of troops (53 percent) said
the U.S. should double both the number of troops and bombing missions
in order to control the insurgency.
The survey shows that most U.S. military personnel in-country have a
clear sense of right and wrong when it comes to using banned weapons
against the enemy, and in interrogation of prisoners. Four in five said
they oppose the use of such internationally banned weapons as napalm
and white phosphorous. And, even as more photos of prisoner abuse in
Iraq surface around the world, 55 percent 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.
Three quarters of the troops had served multiple tours and had a longer
exposure to the conflict: 26 percent were on their first tour of duty,
45 percent were on their second tour, and 29 percent were in Iraq for a
third time or more.
A majority of the troops serving in Iraq said they were satisfied with
the war provisions from Washington. Just 30 percent 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. Only 35 percent said basic civil infrastructure
in Iraq, including roads, electricity, water service, and health care,
has not improved over the past year. Three of every four were male
respondents, with 63 percent under the age of 30.
The survey included 944 military respondents interviewed at several
undisclosed locations throughout Iraq. The names of the specific
locations and specific personnel who conducted the survey are being
withheld for security purposes. Surveys were conducted face-to-face
using random sampling techniques. The margin of error for the survey,
conducted Jan. 18 through Feb. 14, 2006, is +/- 3.3 percentage points.