Bush Losing Support of Military
by Bob Burnett | Oct 31 2006
One of the most memorable Iraq war images was President Bush's May 1, 2003, speech from the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln. As Bush announced, "Major combat operations in Iraq have ended," framed by the banner, "Mission Accomplished," he was surrounded by hundreds of cheering troops. At the time, it would have been hard to predict that three years later major combat operations would not have ended, the mission would not be accomplished, and Bush would be losing the support of the military.
How did George Bush manage to lose the backing of our armed forces, which at one time was highly supportive of his Administration?
Four factors contributed to this change: First,
the occupation of Iraq was botched. Michael Gordon and Bernard Trainor's recent book, Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq argues the Administration "committed five grievous errors" during the planning and execution of the invasion: "They underestimated their opponent and failed to understand the welter of ethnic groups and tribes that is Iraq." "They did not bring the right tools to the fight and put too much confidence in technology." "They failed to adapt to developments on the ground;" did not recognize the rise of the insurgency. "They presided over a system in which differing military and political perspectives were discouraged." Finally, "they turned their backs on... nation-building."
, the Bush Administration's failure to "bring the right tools to the fight" directly impacted rank-and-file troops. Particularly in the early days of the occupation, most had inadequate equipment. A recent poll indicated that 42 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans "said their equipment was below the military standard of being 90 percent operational."
, the longer our troops stayed in Iraq the more they became aware that most Iraqis didn't want them there. A recent poll indicated that 71 percent of Iraqis want occupation forces to leave within a year. Further, 60 percent supported attacks on US-led forces.
increasing numbers of retired Army and Marine generals began to express opposition to the war. (It's a violation of the Uniform code of Military Justice for an active-duty officer to criticize the President or anyone in the chain of military command.)
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