Feb 24, 2007

You know it's bad when even Southerners are opposed to the war

One of the funniest comedic bits I've heard recently is by a comic named Bill Burr (who you might recognize from his appearances on "The Chappelle Show"). He jokes about how Southerners can basically be relied upon to support pretty much any war -- they always want to fight, blow things up and shoot people.

That's why the lack of support for the Iraq war in Virginia and North Carolina is so interesting:

Sixty-four percent of respondents disapproved or strongly disapproved of Bush's handling of the Iraq war - up from 57 percent last year - while 31 percent approved or strongly approved of it, a decrease from 38.5 percent last year.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the story was regarding the opinions of military people (there are more of them in the south than any other part of the country) on the war:
Respondents who were military veterans, retirees, reservists and active duty were vastly more in favor of U.S. involvement in Iraq - but surprisingly, Bacot said, only if Bush's name was not raised.

Almost 61 percent of military respondents said the United States should be in Iraq now, but 53 percent strongly disapproved or disapproved of Bush's handling of the war, compared to 42 percent who approved or strongly approved.

They were nearly split on support for Bush's plan to send more troops to Iraq, with 49 percent in favor and 45 percent opposed. Non-military respondents were 35 percent in favor and 61 percent opposed.

"This has held just about every time we asked it. When Bush is in the equation, (military respondents) don't like it. But when you take Bush out, they're very supportive of their brothers in arms," Bacot said. "The issue's with the commander in chief, not with the war itself."

I think this illustrates why the opinions of military personnel should absolutely not be allowed to steer foreign policy. Not only is it undemocratic and reminiscent of third-world dictatorships -- where the army is essentially the policy apparatus -- but I'm no so sure the remaining support for the war among the military is all that genuine. I wonder how many of those soldiers are expressing solidarity with their fellow troops rather than looking at the long term costs and benefits of the U.S. presence in Iraq.

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