Wednesday, June 27, 2007


A new poll says the American public ranks the U. S. Armed Forces first in terms of trust among American institutions. So ironic to me, in light of a couple of things. The institution that is ranked last is Congress who in essence, can send the military to war or at least collude in it.

Gallup polled Americans on 15 government, business, and cultural institutions asking, "Please tell me how much confidence you, yourself, have in each one." The military scored 69 percent of those answering a "great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence. It is also amazing to me that the military's high standing with the public comes despite generally negative news media coverage of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I can't help but wonder and call me skeptical, if it isn't pretty easy to have confidence in the military since there is, by in large, no real sacrifice on the part of the vast majority of Americans. Some evidence lies in the fact that in another survey parents said they were less likely to recommend the military to their sons and daughters than if there was no war going on.

As much as I think the government's management of the war in Iraq, in particular, in every aspect, has been dismal, the fact exists that the military exists for one purpose: to fight and win wars. When a youngster joins the military, he or she is not joining a college fraternity or sorority. Consequently, I'm not all that high on the survey. Excellent books like AWOL(absent without leave) which persuasively puts forth the argument and fact that the more privileged Americans simply choose not to be part of the military.

Here's a good indication: recently on a News Hour on PBS, at the end of the program as they usually do, they profiled with a picture young Americans who had lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan: out of the 13, there were 8 Southerners, 4 from California, two others from across the country. This is pretty typical of the lack of national representation.

It is good that Americans are supporting the military but let us not break our arms patting ourselves on the back either.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My husband is serving in the Guard / now on active duty. I will say that the men and women under him have MANY financial issues and personal issues that they are trying to "fix" with military bonuses being thrown at them. But, when the money runs out, they have to go again to Iraq to "fix" their problems. Most do not have college degrees or good paying jobs to go back to. This administration is using these people to keep the war alive without a draft. They throw money at these people!