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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Zogby Conducts First Poll of Iraq Troops

Zogby International, tracking public opinion since 1984 in North America, Latin America, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe, has just completed a first-ever opinion poll of our combat troops serving in Iraq. The results are absolutely stunning. The poll, conducted in conjunction with Le Moyne College, is touched upon today in Nicholas Kristof's New York Times Op-Ed column, The Soldiers Speak. Will President Bush Listen? (subscription) . For those who don't subscribe to the NYT, I have all the details explored there (and more) for you here.

Click on 'Article Link' below tags for more...

From today's Zogby press release:

A new poll to be released today shows that U.S. soldiers overwhelmingly want out of Iraq -- and soon. The poll is the first of U.S. troops currently serving in Iraq, according to John Zogby, the pollster. Conducted by Zogby International and LeMoyne College, it asked 944 service members, "How long should U.S. troops stay in Iraq?"

Only 23 percent backed Mr. Bush's position that they should stay as long as necessary. In contrast, 72 percent said that U.S. troops should be pulled out within one year. Of those, 29 percent said they should withdraw "immediately."

  • 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% say mission is clear, 42% say U.S. role is hazy.
  • Plurality believes Iraqi insurgents are mostly homegrown.
  • Almost 90% 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.
  • While 89% of reserves and 82% of those in the National Guard said the U.S. should leave Iraq within a year, 58% of Marines think so.
  • 7 in 10 of those in the regular Army thought the U.S. should leave Iraq in the next year.
  • About 3/4 of those in National Guard and Reserve units favor withdrawal within six months, just 15% of Marines felt that way.
  • About 50% of those in the regular Army favored withdrawal from Iraq in the next six months.
  • 58% of those serving in country say the U.S. mission in Iraq is clear in their minds.
  • 42% said the mission is either somewhat or very unclear to them, that they have no understanding of it at all, or are unsure.
  • 85% said the U.S. mission is mainly “to retaliate for Saddam’s role in the 9-11 attacks.”
  • 77% said they also believe the main or a major reason for the war was “to stop Saddam from protecting al Qaeda in Iraq.”
  • 93% said that removing weapons of mass destruction is not a reason for U.S. troops being there.
  • 68% believe the real mission became to remove Saddam Hussein.
  • 24% said that “establishing a democracy that can be a model for the Arab World" was the main or a major reason for the war.
  • 11% see the mission there as securing oil supplies.
  • 6% believe we are there to provide long-term bases for US troops in the region.
  • 80% said they did not hold a negative view of Iraqis because of insurgent attacks.
  • 2 in 5 see the insurgency as being comprised of discontented Sunnis with very few non-Iraqi helpers.
  • Less than 1/3 think that if non-Iraqi terrorists could be prevented from crossing the border into Iraq, the insurgency would end.
  • 53% said the U.S. should double both the number of troops and bombing missions in order to control the insurgency.
  • 4 in 5 said they oppose the use of such internationally banned weapons as napalm and white phosphorous.
  • 55% 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.
  • 3/4 of the troops had served multiple tours and had a longer exposure to the conflict:
  • 26% were on their first tour of duty.
  • 45% were on their second tour.
  • 29% were in Iraq for a third time or more.
  • 30% 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.
  • 35% said basic civil infrastructure in Iraq, including roads, electricity, water service, and health care, has not improved over the past year.
  • 3 of 4 were male respondents.
  • 63% of those surveyed were under the age of 30.
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% of troops serving there said those Americans are unpatriotic, while 20% believe people back home don’t believe a continued occupation will work. Another 16% 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% said they do not believe those Americans understand the need for the U.S. troops in Iraq.

A stunning poll.

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