Hoover's Hanson claimed U.S. troops see their mission in Iraq; poll shows otherwise


In a Wall Street Journal commentary, Hoover Institution senior fellow Victor Davis Hanson argued that U.S. troops in Iraq "hardly" regard their mission as "lost without a plan." However, a recent poll conducted face-to-face with soldiers serving in Iraq found that, when asked, 42 percent of respondents indicated a less than clear understanding of their mission in Iraq.

In a March 1 commentary in The Wall Street Journal, Victor Davis Hanson, a senior fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution, argued that U.S. troops in Iraq "hardly" regard their mission as "lost without a plan," despite the statements to the contrary by opponents of the war. However a recent poll conducted by Zogby International and the Center for Peace and Global Studies at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York -- the first of its kind, conducted face-to-face with soldiers serving in Iraq, reportedly without the permission of the Pentagon -- found that, when asked whether their mission was "clear in their minds," 42 percent responded that their mission in Iraq was either somewhat or very unclear to them, that they had no understanding of it at all, or that they were not sure. In addition, 28 percent of the respondents said they felt the U.S. should leave Iraq immediately, while 70 percent of troops, 89 percent of reservists, and 82 percent of National Guardsmen indicated that the U.S. should leave within a year.

From Hanson's commentary in the March 1 edition of The Wall Street Journal:

If many are determined to see the Iraqi war as lost without a plan, it hardly seems so to 130,000 U.S. soldiers still over there. They explain to visitors that they have always had a design: defeat the Islamic terrorists; train a competent Iraqi military; and provide requisite time for a democratic Iraqi government to garner public support away from the Islamists.

We point fingers at each other; soldiers under fire point to their achievements: Largely because they fight jihadists over there, there has not been another 9/11 here. Because Saddam is gone, reform is not just confined to Iraq, but taking hold in Lebanon, Egypt and the Gulf. We hear the military is nearly ruined after conducting two wars and staying on to birth two democracies; its soldiers feel that they are more experienced and lethal, and on the verge of pulling off the nearly impossible: offering a people terrorized from nightmarish oppression something other than the false choice of dictatorship or theocracy -- and making the U.S. safer for the effort.

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