A strange thing has been happening on the Left over the past few months. For the first time in my memory, there seems to be a desire of those on the Left, and those in the media, to let the public know how the troops feel about an ongoing military operation. Now that many of our soldiers and Marines in Iraq are serving their second and third tours there, have been away from their families for many months, and some have even watched their buddies die, the Left and the media want to know what they think and how they feel. Well, isn’t that thoughtful of them?
Earlier this month a poll released by John Zogby was widely (I might even say breathlessly) reported in all the major media outlets. The part of the poll that got the most attention was that 72 percent of those polled believed we should leave Iraq in a year. When I heard it reported that Zogby's results showed that a majority of those in the Army thought we should leave in a year, my first reaction was surprise that more didn’t respond that way. War sucks. Who in a war zone would respond that they think we should still be there in a year?
Some of those responding in favor of leaving may have answered that way because they think the effort is a failure and that we should cut our losses and run. Others might feel that enough progress has been made that in a year the Iraqis will be ready to take back responsibility for the security there. Others may have been thinking that they didn't want to be in Iraq missing another Christmas or another child's birthday. Some may have answered that way, with the unspoken “but only if” certain conditions are present at the time. The issues are complex and not well suited to “yes” or “no” answers.
Putting aside the results of that poll, which have been widely criticized by those on both right and left for faulty science, what I think merits attention is the sudden concern of those on the left and in the media about what the troops think.