While Gen. Petraeus makes the case in Congress today for extending the war in Iraq, ABC News and its reporter over there, Martha Raddatz, have a story out about how the troops see the presidential race back home. The story's headlined, "Surprising Political Endorsements By U.S. Troops," and I assume this is what they meant by that.
The story never once mentions the M-word.
As in McCain. Nope. Not. Mentioned. Even. Once. But if you read the whole story, which involves actual journalism, as in talking to real people who happen to be soldiers and asking then what they think, maybe that's not really so "surprising." Why would they support a candidate who wants to keep troops like them fighting in the desert for a long, long time, when they mainly want to come home?
As in, come home, like, tomorrow:
Though the military is generally a more conservative group, soldiers like Sgt. Justin Sarbaum are just as eager for a pull-out as the Democratic candidates. Sarbaum said he wondered which presidential candidate would be able to better the U.S. relationship with rogue nations, such as Iran, so that soldiers are not sent off to another war."Iran is obviously a big issue," Sarbaum said, "Here in Iraq for my third time; starting another war right now — is it really necessary?"Sgt. Cory Messingham from Lewisville, Texas, said he wasn't following the race, but he was concerned about candidates' paying attention to the emotional toll that the war has taken on soldiers."My biggest issue is support for the military, military funding and our deployments, not having long deployments anymore. Because [the] majority of us are doing ...15-month deployments. So, it's tough on the soldiers and tough on the soldiers' families. Those are really my biggest issues."
If you're keeping score, of the five solidiers who express a candidate preference in the article, four are backing Obama -- the man who said of Iraq in 2002 that "I don't oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war." One backs Hillary Clinton, and then there is he who shall not be named. These soldiers/citizens/voters are concerned about the same things their like-minded Americans back home care about, like the economy and avoiding future wars that might be even more ill-advised than the one they've been sent to fight.
I think this article is one more layer of evidence that those of us who say we support the troops by wanting them to end this misguided mission and return safely are, well, yes, supporting the troops.
And yet the ABC article says that what it found was "surprising" -- leaving the reader to assume that we should all be surprised that more troops aren't backing McCain and his awesome surge. (It also notes, without any backup whatsoever, that "the military is generally a more conservative group." Maybe -- but prove it.) To me, there's only one thing "surprising" about the article.
That somebody asked our troops, what do you think?