Friday, June 24, 2005

Patience, America.

I'm hearing a lot of rehtoric lately regarding the growing concern over our progress in Iraq. In my previous post I took issue with Senator Chuck Hagel who made the assertion that we are "losing in Iraq". Today I've seen headlines about the grilling Defense Secretary Rumsfeld took from a Senate committe and caught snippets of the exchange on CNN.

Then they start throwing the poll numbers around. The one I've seen quoted the most along with some verbiage along the lines of how America is growing weary of the war in Iraq:

CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll. June 16-19, 2005. N=1,006 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.







Do you favor or oppose the U.S. war with Iraq?










Favor Oppose Unsure



% % %

6/16-19/05 39 59 2

3/18-20/05 47 47 6

11/19-21/04 48 46 6

10/3/2005
54 43 3

4/22-23/03 71 26 3

4/10/2003
72 22 6

4/7-8/03
68 28 4

4/5-6/03
70 27 3

3/29-30/03 70 27 3

3/24-25/03 71 27 2

3/22-23/03 72 25 3


First, I'd like to know why we are still asking this question. To me it is the equivalent of asking a first time sky-diver if they "approve" of jumping out of a perfectly good airplane as they stand on the edge. Most likely you'll get a "thumbs-up" since they are at least commited to the "idea " of jumping. But let's imagine you were somehow able to ask them the same question once they have left the plane and are hurtling towards the earth at a very high rate of speed. At that point the answer is completely irrelavant since they are already commited to the cause and there is no turning back.

We (the troops on the ground) are just as committed, and we need to know we have the support of the American people. We believe in this cause because we are here and able to look into the eyes of the Iraqi people and know we are making a difference.

We've jumped, ladies and gentlemen. Now let's finish the job we set out to do.

28 Comments:

Blogger rmiller said...

Well, I know we haven't actually made the jump with you. I can tell, because I'm still drinking lattes before and after my mundane 8 to 5 pity party I call "a hectic day". However, I am totally convinced (in part because of your postings) we (America) are in the right place, at the right time, helping determine the fate of a deserving people. Even though we are not the ones jumping, we are behind you and I for one appreciate what you are doing. I will continue to pray for you and the other soldiers, not only for your safety but for the success of your mission. Hang in there buddy and know that without you (and/or those like you) this world would be a very differnt place. Thanks for your service and sacrifice.

Rick

9:56 AM  
Anonymous MissBirdlegs in AL said...

Hi, John - I'm with you & Rick. I also think the pollsters' questions aren't being asked of enough people. I rarely hear anyone say they're not in favor of the War in Iraq - except in polls (& in Congress). The Milblogs I read (incl. yours) just reenforce my thoughts and give me ammo for anybody who thinks otherwise.

I thank you for the work you & your buds are doing in Iraq, and am grateful for the sacrifices y'all & your families are making.

10:12 AM  
Anonymous ac said...

You can't listen to that BS. Polls are for political reasons mostly. The same goes for most Congressmen any time they speak they are just trying to get enough attention to keep their jobs. The media is not the voice of America. It doesn't speak for me or anyone I know.
Teach them to fish so we don't have to go back later.

11:28 AM  
Blogger Lexie said...

Ditto.

How many people polled remember that it took 7 years of US occupation to get Japan going stable after WWII?

Remind the troops not to believe everything they hear and consider the source.

1:55 PM  
Blogger Lorilei said...

No one asked ME for that poll!
I don't pay any attention to polls anyway. Trust me, there's plenty of people that "believe" you all are making progress in Iraq. Anyone who really wants to know the truth, just needs to read the Milblogs. THANK YOU!!!!

8:44 PM  
Blogger brian said...

Sir:

Keep up the great work - both in Iraq and on your blog. I'm an Army paralegal who just made it home to northern New York after a very long year in (and around) Camp Liberty. Be careful, and keep writing.

9:26 PM  
Anonymous CJ said...

No one asked me that poll question either! Please don't let the negative media deter you from your mission. YOUR America loves you all and are standing behind you absolutely! Thank you for being so committed.

9:54 PM  
Blogger Soldier's Dad said...

I think everyone is for our troops coming home. Everyone is also for Iraqi troops taking over their own security. The polls reflect a growing frustration with how long things take. Patience has never been a particularly strong American virtue. Rumsfeld quoted a magazine article from 1946 during his grilling...apparently, victory in Europe was slipping away.

6:01 AM  
Blogger Soldier's Dad said...

In 1946, a growing number of Americans believed victory in Europe was slipping away.

We are not a patient people by nature.

Patience it will have to be however.

6:06 AM  
Blogger kc_harley said...

CNN POll? Commie News Network, You mean the same Network that Saddam had in his Pocket??

Excuse me while I get another Beer, BELCH!!

9:00 AM  
Blogger Wayne's Mom said...

Add our names to the folks who've never been asked to answer that poll question. We're definitely committed, not only to the cause of freedom for the Iraqis, but also to the work of stemming the tide of terrorism in the world.

7:44 PM  
Blogger Bag Blog said...

On a recent blog posting I ranted and raved about a friend who is a Desert Storm vet that is now against the war in Iraq. My point was "How can you say you are against the war, but for the soldier" which is just stupid. How could my friend have fallen so far? Maybe it is because he married one of those Liberal Austinites.

6:21 AM  
Anonymous GEORGE GRIGGS said...

AMEN,BROTHER. ONCE AGAIN, THE MEDIA HAS A STORY. WHY WON'T OUR MEDIA SHOW THE BEFORE AND AFTER OF SOME OF THE IRAQI PEOPLE AND SEE THAT THEIR LIVES ARE BETTER NOW AND WILL BE BETTER IN THE FUTURE. ALL I HEAR ARE THE NEGATIVES AND I'M SICK OF IT. I CAN'T IMAGINE WHAT YOU GUYS GO THROUGH, BUT I MAY SOON BE CLOSER TO THE SUBJECT AS MY SON IS NAT'L GUARD RESERVES, BUT HAS NOT BEEN DEPLOYED. STAY POSITIVE-WE ARE BEHIND YOU AND I JUST HOPE THE NEGATIVE POLITICIANS GET THEIR JUST REWARD AT THE POLLS.

9:58 AM  
Blogger gary said...

Hey John,

I think you may be missing the message in these kinds of poll numbers. There are many of us, who absolutely support you and your fellow troops, but are quite sure that we shouldn't be in this war. I don’t believe the declining poll numbers reflect an attitude toward you and the troops, but rather a growing concern for the way our administration is handling the war in Iraq and an increasing lack of confidence in the Bush administration.

There are many of us who fervently believe two things at the same time. We love, support and worry about you and your fellow troops in Iraq, and at the same time, we feel we should not have gone to Iraq.

Be safe! Come Home!

-gary

10:05 AM  
Anonymous paul said...

Thank you for being there doing the work that many of us wouldn't or couldn't enlist for. Also, thanks for sharing your perspectives. But, aren't you begging someone to finish your analogy by saying that we jumped without a viable plan for how to land safely and now we're trying to fashion a parachute out of our clothing? Or, that our 'chute isn't operating properly and now we need a new plan?

Part of the problem reflected by the poll numbers is that Repubs and Dems alike - people who have been in the military and those that have not - are questioning what the PLAN to wrap up the war effort is. Obviously, no sane person wants this to go on forever, and we can't afford it to - in terms of lives or dollars. Right now, we seem to be just drifting along, now and then routing out some terrorists then pulling back then watching the terrorists get more active; what progress is being made?

So, answering that you support the war is not the same as laying out a plan. I supported the concept that Saddam and his govt had to go - I disagreed with the way that the Bush Admin went about it. I continue to support the idea that - given the present situation - we need to try to achieve the best possible result in the best possible way, balanced with reducing troop levels (significantly) as soon as is feasible. I yearn for our very-civilian political leaders (Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld) to elucidate what progress we are making toward achieving those desired results and then reducing our heavy, heavy commitment.

Why does Bush need to do this? Bush needs to do this because he - and more importantly the troops! - NEED a level of public support and confidence. To gain (or even re-gain, if you will) that public support and confidence, he will need to give us more reliable benchmarks than the looks in the Iraqis' eyes, or even the amount of money spent on building and rebuilding schools. I'm confident that - with the military's help - we can come up with some real and reliable measuring sticks; I really think that, to date, the Admin has been content to go along without giving the public anything other than anecdotal evidence of the positives happening there.

Some folks here are just willing to simply trust that the Admin has some plan and that we are making real progress. Fine. But those poll numbers unfortunately reflect that they might soon be alone in that pool (with the other blind trusters) as more independent thinkers get out and demand some evidence that the effort isn't just treading water with no plan to get out.

Thanks again for your thoughts, and I hope you accept my thoughts in the positive spirit with which they are offered.

11:12 AM  
Anonymous Jackie said...

Damned straight, I totally agree with you my fellow Texan. All these folks who say we need to get out now need to go over and work alongside you. Easy for me to say, yes because I'm not there and I have no family there. Just my humble opinion.

11:45 AM  
Blogger Nick Bowen said...

Just as the media doesn't show us and tell us what you do in your posts, neither do the polls tell you how we feel. We are praying for you every day and support you 250%. Always did. Always will. Regardless of the administration's exit plan, etc., you are still walking out your committment every day, and we're lifting you up to the Father. He will shield you and protect you and bring you safe home.

5:35 AM  
Blogger John said...

Dear Paul,

Thank you for your comment. You can see my responses below. In the future I would recommend you leave and email address if you are trying to facilitate a response. Generally, I will not dedicate a post in order to respond to a reader's comment since such discourse only benefits the two individuals involved and therefore, not of much interest to everyone else who is reading.

Thank you for being there doing the work that many of us wouldn't or couldn't enlist for. Also, thanks for sharing your perspectives. But, aren't you begging someone to finish your analogy by saying that we jumped without a viable plan for how to land safely and now we're trying to fashion a parachute out of our clothing? Or, that our 'chute isn't operating properly and now we need a new plan?

First, you are welcome for both my service and my perspective. I am more than happy to offer them both.

Secondly, no I wasn't "begging" someone to finish my analogy. It's my analogy and I like it just the way it is. However, I do understand your point. I will respond by quoting a common phrase in the military, which is "the first casualty of any war is the plan." That's not to say that we don't plan. To the contrary, the military has written mass volumes of doctrine to teach leaders how to plan meticulously. We would be doing a disservice to the soldier on the ground if we did anything less. However, the enemy has a funny way of not always reacting exactly they way we want him to nor does he typically adhere to our planned timelines. However, one thing remains constant and that is the "end state". The skydiver's end state is that he is going to ultimately meet the ground regardless of what happens in mid-air.


Part of the problem reflected by the poll numbers is that Repubs and Dems alike - people who have been in the military and those that have not - are questioning what the PLAN to wrap up the war effort is. Obviously, no sane person wants this to go on forever, and we can't afford it to - in terms of lives or dollars. Right now, we seem to be just drifting along, now and then routing out some terrorists then pulling back then watching the terrorists get more active; what progress is being made?

Yes, I agree with you that it can not go on forever, nor do I want it to. I love my family too much to spend any more time here than absolutely neccesary. However, the perception that we are "just drifting along" is simply not true. But I can see how the typical citizen back home may succumb to that type of malaise for a couple of reasons. First is that the only information most citizens see of the progress here is on the morning or evening news. I am not purporting a vast liberal conspiracy amongst the main stream media. I do get CNN and Fox news over here, and I see the typical daily report on Iraq, which usually consists of less than 60 seconds of citing the latest number of bombings and casualties as if they were some sort of morbid baseball statistic. Secondly, I do not believe the administration has done an adequate job of keeping the American public informed of what has been accomplished. On that point we can agree.

So, answering that you support the war is not the same as laying out a plan. I supported the concept that Saddam and his govt had to go - I disagreed with the way that the Bush Admin went about it. I continue to support the idea that - given the present situation - we need to try to achieve the best possible result in the best possible way, balanced with reducing troop levels (significantly) as soon as is feasible. I yearn for our very-civilian political leaders (Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld) to elucidate what progress we are making toward achieving those desired results and then reducing our heavy, heavy commitment.

I think I have already responded to a majority of your thoughts in this paragraph in my previous comments...sans one.

By setting a specific timeline for troop withdrawls we are giving aid to the enemy. It would be like playing poker with all of your cards face-up on the table. If I were the enemy and I new exactly when my opponent planned on drawing down his strength, I would conserve my resources and strike at his weakest moment. Again, wars are not fought on timelines. They are fought to accomplish an end state. During WW II our goal in the Pacific was to defeat the Japanese military complex, not go fight for a year and then come back home.


Why does Bush need to do this? Bush needs to do this because he - and more importantly the troops! - NEED a level of public support and confidence. To gain (or even re-gain, if you will) that public support and confidence, he will need to give us more reliable benchmarks than the looks in the Iraqis' eyes, or even the amount of money spent on building and rebuilding schools. I'm confident that - with the military's help - we can come up with some real and reliable measuring sticks; I really think that, to date, the Admin has been content to go along without giving the public anything other than anecdotal evidence of the positives happening there.

Again, you and I agree that the administration could do a better job of communicating results that have been achieved. However, I will also say that anecdotal data from the people who are on the ground and putting there lives at risk every day is worth something. You would be hard pressed to find any soldier here who does not believe that this is a worthwhile cause. We are winning.

Some folks here are just willing to simply trust that the Admin has some plan and that we are making real progress. Fine. But those poll numbers unfortunately reflect that they might soon be alone in that pool (with the other blind trusters) as more independent thinkers get out and demand some evidence that the effort isn't just treading water with no plan to get out.

Careful..now your sounding intolerant of other people's views. They have a right to "trust" that there is a plan just as much as you have a right to question it. We wear the uniform to ensure you both are able to speak your thoughts freely as long as they don't incite hate or bring harm to others.

Thanks again for your thoughts, and I hope you accept my thoughts in the positive spirit with which they are offered.

Thank you for your comments. I do appreciate the fact that are reading what I have to say and took the time to leave your thoughts.

John

10:10 AM  
Blogger membrain said...

John I think your analogy is absolutely brilliant. Bang on the money. And I appreciate the tone you and diplomacy used when you answered Paul's comments. As a Canadian I can't begin to tell how impressed I am with the caliber of the modern American Soldier; intelligent, well spoken, and resolved. Thanks.

P.S. I don't think Bush gives a damn about the polls. His concern is doing the right thing as Commander in Chief and I believe he will.

9:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John,

First, I want to thank you for your brave and courageous service in Iraq. I didn't vote for Bush in 2000, but did in 2004 after having been a participant from the get-go at www.brucespringsteen.net.

It's been quite ride there doing verbal battle with self-called liberals who demonstrated for me their lack of actually being liber, but visceral haters who do like free speech when it agrees with theirs. I've always thought of myself a bit liberal with some conervative traits as well.

My experience at Bruce Springsteen's official has taught me that most of the liberals there actually root for our failure in Iraq; and only because victory would be a vindication of Bush and his supporters. And outcome they abhor. It's really sad to have been a part of that discussion board and witness the vitriol and hate that they spit every day.

Pay no attention to their vile. It certainly does not represent the mainstream of Americans. The last election proved that.

I admire you and others who put your lives on the line every day, and wish you success in your noble and just mission.

If you wish to email me, do so at Holey_Ghost_2005@yahoo.com

BTW I am banned at Bruce's site for apparently voicing my conservative opinions and continual support for your mission. Pathetic isn't it?

9:18 PM  
Anonymous paul said...

John: Thank you very much for your response, and for discussing it in such a calm, professional manner - those are my favorite kind of discussions at the Springsteen board, and anywhere.
I appreciated some of your points, we agree on some, and I thought you incorrectly assumed a couple of things about what I was suggesting (eg. I don't agree with an announced timeline, either).
I hope we can continue our dialogue - either here, on the Springsteen site, or both!
Keep safe! And you - and all of our forces - are in our hearts and prayers on this Independence Day weekend and the entire year! --Paul
P.S. I did not feel that your tone was condescending, any more than any of us when we are confident in our opinions (and probably less than some!).
P.P.S. Good to see you Ghost, but I certainly disagree with your characterization of "most" liberals rooting for failure in Iraq. THAT ain't true - explicitly or implicitly!

5:22 PM  
Anonymous paul said...

Just wanted to let the rest of you know that I don't agree with Ghost's characterization of the brucespringsteen.net site, nor that he was banned because of his political views. There are plenty of Bush supporters there, and there are occasionally some very enlightening discussions. If you are interested, check it out.

12:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paul, and John,

Respectfully I have to disagree with you Paul. Remember that your time at bs.net is relatively short, just prior to the re-election, while this coming August I would have spend nearly 3 yrs in the BS Purgatory Ass-sylum.

If you don't see that there is and has been, prior to the re-election, a consistent bias favoring Bush-haters then you simply haven't observed it. I don't think it's accident that all the volunteer moderators are all rabid Bush-haters. Prior to the election I had many anti-Kerry and/or pro-Bush threads deleted by such moderators tho' they violated no posted rules. When I protested such blatant partisan actions, those threads got pulled. When I porotested the verbal harassment of another poster who started a hate-filled thread, I got my account suspended. Whenever I reappeared under another guise the Bush Haters would alert the Sony Addmin immediately. When a former Sony Moderator, Kirkaiya posted the Admins Tel # and made accusations of criminal activity, said poster was "allowed" to still poster under his nic.

This would never have been tolerated by the moderators if done so by conservative poster.

When the same poster, Kirkaiya, admittted hacking into another posters email account, and threated blackmailing said poster by posting personal information of said poster, the thread remained on the board unfettered for nearly five full hours.

Kirkaiya was then finally "banned" yet kept resurfacing, sometimes twice a day. On at least 2 of those occasions, an existin volunteer moderator, Jillianre3, chatted with Kirkaiya as if nothing had traspired. This would never had been tolerated if the banned posted had been a conservative poster such as myself.

Bruce Springsteen, for all his suppport of the Dixie Chicks in voicing their opinions, really ought to know what is going on in his backyard in regards to free speech, because the blatant partisan censurship and moderation on his official site doesn't hold up to his ideals he's expressed on Free Speech.

There are more war stories if you care to know about them, and more posters than myself than have been censured and banned for what looks like partisanship. When conservative posters such as myself are permanantly banned for relatively minor offenses (the last one being starting a thread mocking the use of mult nics), while major offenses including violating Sony's Privacy Rules by Bush-haters, are allowed to post, it's really not hard to observe. Hard to understand the rationale yes. and it doesn't surprise that some liberal posters deny this or are blind to it.

Sincerely,

Holey Ghost

1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paul, I don't mean to hijack John's thread, but wanted to point out that yes "mpost liberals" at bs.net may not actually state that they root for failure in Iraq, most certainly root for Bush's failure, which is the same thing, and dread conceding a victory to him in any fashion, including a successful outcome in Iraq. Many there hate Bush so much that they'd have to go get more therapy if Bush is ever lauded a visionary for his wisdom in removing SH before he was able to get the French and Germans to lift the U.N. sanctions so he could easily converted his dual-use factories to re-weaponize. History may well indeed judge the fact that SH didn't actually have WMD at the time of the invasion, a lucky stroke or strike of pure luck.

Now, if the rest of the world, and the Bush-haters in America had gotten behind Bush at the time in removing the SH regime, it would have been a much easier task, especiall when you had the likes of Michael actually rooting for the "freedom fighting" insurgents to win.

And there were and are many Michael Moore fans at bs.net.

Sincerely and respectfully,
Ghost

8:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should be sorry. This blog isn't about you Mr. Ghost. Take your personal grievances elsewhere.

Godspeed to you, John!!

Your blog is awesome, BTW!

6:42 AM  
Blogger Holey Ghost said...

John, this of yours says it all:

"We (the troops on the ground) are just as committed, and we need to know we have the support of the American people. We believe in this cause because we are here and able to look into the eyes of the Iraqi people and know we are making a difference.

We've jumped, ladies and gentlemen. Now let's finish the job we set out to do."

I absolutely agree. Whether one aggrees with the mission and/or strategy to fulfill that mission, once it was started, I think all Americans, left and right, should have supported it getting done with Godspeed.

There are those that never wanted us to go in, and are now calling for us to pull out. Pulling out would be a ghastly mistake and I don't think Bush would ever do it. I do think Kerry would have if elected as soon as he was given he signals from Teddy and Pelosi.

As you said, the reconstruction of Japan and Germany wasn't done overnight, yet our Instant Gratification American Culture is demanding that it be done yesterday. Patience is not virtue of many of Americans. Our enemies in Afghanistan and Iraq, and elsewhere do exhibit patience however, and seem willing to bide their time. The only way to defeat them is take the fight to them where they live, not sit back and let them bring it to us. That strategy employed from '92-2000 didn't work. It only emboldened them to up the ante until they finally pushed the thumbtack into the elephant's butt by flying jet planes into skyscrapers to get our attention.

Our attention is what they got. I think the perception of those that thought the U.S. is a Paper Tiger and would turn tail and run like Somalia and Beirut is shattered.

I do thank you for your courage and bravery in facing forces of vile evil that abuse and defile their own religion by blowing up innocent mothers and children in markets and mosques.

You certainly have my unwavering support in fulfilling your mission as I believe in your noble and just cause. I think the vast majority of Americans do too.

2:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>At 12:05 PM, paul said...
Just wanted to let the rest of you know that I don't agree with Ghost's characterization of the brucespringsteen.net site, nor that he was banned because of his political views. There are plenty of Bush supporters there, and there are occasionally some very enlightening discussions. If you are interested, check it out.<<

Oh really? Plenty of Bush supporters on the brucespringsteen.net site? There used to be before 95% of them were banned for speaking out. Go and count the heads that are left now Paul.

12:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LMAO! How many posters of any kind are at brucespringsteen.net???
Answer- 0

The plug has been pulled.

9:54 PM  

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