• 68°
Hartselle Enquirer

Americans believe war effort improved, but question motives

By Staff
Bob Martin, The Alabama Scene
The Pew Research Center, a respected non-partisan and non-profit national polling and research organization, has just concluded a national survey on our opinions about the Iraq War as it enters its sixth year this month.
The Pew polling shows that five years after the start of the conflict the public view of the situation in Iraq has turned more positive, but there has been no reversal in the public’s opinion about the original decision to take military action in Iraq. While support of how things are going in Iraq have improved over the past year and more Americans now say we should keep troops there, the proportion saying the initial decision to go to war was wrong has increased since the spring of 2007.
In the center’s latest national survey, conducted Feb. 20-24 among 1,508 adults, a 54 percent majority said the U.S. made the wrong decision in using military force in Iraq, while 38 percent said it was the right decision. Last March, 49 percent said the decision to got to war was wrong, while 43 percent said it was right. During the third and fourth years of the conflict public opinion on this question was divided, while in the war’s first two years clear majorities backed the decision to use force in Iraq, the report, released last week stated.
The decrease in support for the decision to go to war has occurred despite a dramatically improved perception of how the effort in Iraq is going. In Pew’s latest survey, as many Americans say the military situation in Iraq is going well as say it is not going well (48 percent each). In February 2007, fully two-thirds (67 percent) said the war in Iraq was not going well – the largest percentage expressing this view since the war began. The current division on this question is comparable to public perceptions through most of the second and third years of the conflict, while evaluations turned decidedly negative during the fourth year, the report said.
We continue to be divided on whether to keep troops in Iraq or bring them home. The Pew poll shows a slim plurality of Americans (49 percent) now supports bringing the troops home as soon as possible, while 47 percent favor maintaining troops in Iraq until the situation there is stabilized. A year ago, a narrow majority (52 percent) favored a troop withdrawal as soon as possible, compared with 43 percent who favored keeping the troops in Iraq. Public support for a troop pullout peaked at 56 percent in June 2007. The percentage favoring withdrawing the troops as soon as possible is at its lowest level since mid-January 2007 (48 percent).
But no mater our opinion about troop levels or whether or not we should be there at all, the cost of the war continues.
The Center reports that public awareness of the number of American military fatalities in Iraq has declined sharply since last August. Today, just 28 percent of adults are able to say that approximately 4,000 Americans have died in the Iraq war.
Have we forgotten the sacrifices of so many of our fellow Americans and others amid the many other problems we have here at home? I hope not, and as we enter the sixth year in this war that a majority of Americans believe should never have happened, this is my periodic reminder about those sacrifices. The human tragedy toll to date is as follows:

  • 4,000 U. S. military fatalities (66 from Alabama as of last Monday), plus five who died of wounds and are not counted by the Department of Defense. How incredible is that?
  • 308 military fatalities from our coalition forces.
  • 8,019 military fatalities in the Iraq Security Forces.
  • Between 82,240 and 89,751 violent civilian deaths.
  • 20,416 hostile wounded/no medical air transport required.
  • 8,904 hostile wounded/medical air transport required.
  • 31,325 non-hostile wounded/no medical air transport
    required.

  • 8,273 non-hostile wounded/medical air transport required.
  • 23,052 disease related matters/medical air transport
    required.

  • 145 self-inflicted deaths.
  • Four missing or captured.
  • Several million displaced citizens of Iraq.
    The human toll, including the killing of more than eighty journalists and scores of contractors in Iraq, can be followed minute-by-minute on the web site icasualties.org.
    Through 2007, the U. S. government had budgeted $522 billion for the war. What could that have meant to the well being of our nation. Here’s are calculations by the National Priorities Project, (nationalprioritiesproject.org) based on a figure of about $503 billion having already been spent on Iraq of what the trade off would have been for Alabama’s prorata share of the war through 2007:
    Taxpayers in Alabama have paid $4.2 billion for their prorata share of the cost of the Iraq War through 2007. For the same amount of money, the following could have been provided:

  • 1,741,613 People with Health Care OR
  • 3,084,427 Homes with Renewable Electricity OR
  • 115,632 Public Safety Officers OR
  • 80,727 Music and Arts Teachers OR
  • 791,708 Scholarships for University Students OR
  • 288 New Elementary Schools OR
  • 50,680 Affordable Housing Units OR
  • 4,371,048 Children with Health Care OR
  • 648,756 Head Start Places for Children OR
  • 84,014 Elementary School Teachers
    Bob Martin is editor and publisher of The Montgomery Independent. E-mail him at: bob@montgomeryindependent.com

  • Falkville

    Larry Madison has been a pillar in Falkville for four decades

    Hartselle

    Hartselle trio nominated for two K-LOVE awards

    Hartselle

    Hartselle students chosen to attend Girls State

    FRONT PAGE FEATURED

    Hartselle Kiwanis Club continues scholarly legacy with annual golf tournament

    Editor's picks

    Heartbreaking finish: Hartselle comes up a run short in state baseball finals

    Decatur

    Fallen Morgan County officers remembered, families honored  

    FRONT PAGE FEATURED

    Hartselle drops Game 1 to Hillcrest, needs two wins for state title

    FRONT PAGE FEATURED

    Despite title loss, Hartselle thankful for state experience 

    Editor's picks

    Hartselle baseball legend dies

    Breaking News

    Hartselle baseball legend William Booth dies at 79

    At a Glance

    ALDOT patching area of Thompson Road tomorrow, Thursday

    At a Glance

    Spring-time market day in Hartselle scheduled for May 18 

    Hartselle

    New Crestline Elementary School welcomes students

    FRONT PAGE FEATURED

    Hartselle industry closing, affecting more than 150 jobs  

    FRONT PAGE FEATURED

    Habitat for Humanity applications for homeownership available June 3 

    FRONT PAGE FEATURED

    State seeking death penalty for Fort Payne woman accused of pushing victim off cliff

    FRONT PAGE FEATURED

    Pilot of ultralight dies in Hartselle plane crash

    Editor's picks

    Northern lights visible from north Alabama

    Hartselle

    Hartselle students to attend Boys State

    FRONT PAGE FEATURED

    High scorers: 42 Hartselle students a part of ACT 30 plus club

    FRONT PAGE FEATURED

    Hartselle projects budget surplus based on midyear numbers 

    FRONT PAGE FEATURED

    Planned Hartselle library already piquing interest 

    Brewer

    Students use practical life skills at Morgan County 4-H competition

    FRONT PAGE FEATURED

    After 13 years underground, the cicadas are coming 

    x