Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Poll Reveals US Divided On Moral Character of US Soldiers

Will the real American soldier please stand up!

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Left: Abu Ghraib; Right: US Soldier, Iraq. Photo details here & here

A USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll released on Tuesday reveals some interesting responses.

Most surprising to me was the response to this question: "Do you think US soldiers are still abusing Iraqi prisoners in a similar way today (as per the photos of Abu Ghraib abuse released a year ago? I'm guessing this is the intent of the question), or do you think they have stopped abusing Iraqi prisoners?"

5% responded that US soldiers had never abused Iraqi prisoners and 49% believed that they had stopped abusing Iraqi prisoners (as if assuming that such abuse had previously been a common occurrence?).

The surprise is that 37% of those polled believe that US soldiers currently continue to abuse Iraqi prisoners in, I would assume, the same way as illustrated in the Abu Ghraib photos.

Has the image of the US soldier sunk so low among Americans that they would think them not only capable of but actually committing such atrocities as a routine part of their military service? What are these 37% thinking? What an insult to our brave soldiers. What an insult to those literally laying down their lives for the Iraqi people.

How is it that the American public (at least 37% of them) has been led to believe that the abhorrent behavior of 8 or 9 slimeball soldiers, acting badly over a 2 or 3 day period in clear defiance of training and explicit orders to the contrary, become the poster boy/poster girl image of the US soldier?

The Abu Ghraib abuse has been shown to have been limited and extremely unusual. The facts have been neatly summarized by Greyhawk at Mudville Gazette here.

Clearly the Pentagon's PR crew has not done a very good job. But, of course, neither has the mainstream media. And the common sense of 37% of those polled must also be seriously be called into question.

HT: Pardon My English