Poll: Active Military Members Have Had Quite Enough of Nation Building, Regime Change

15 years of war have exhausted and demoralized U.S. troops.


15 years of war is enough.
CrimsonScholar/Wikipedia Commons

U.S. military forces have been "ground down by 15 years of combat, the longest period of continuous conflict in American history" and "The country is employing its military at a rate it cannot sustain," the editors of Military Times write in an editorial published earlier this week.

Comparing today's present state of the U.S. military to "the troubled 'hollow force' era that corrupted morale and eroded readiness in the years following Vietnam," the editorial also cites its own polling data which indicate active military service-people have had quite enough of the interventions of choice launched and administered by Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

The same military survey recently conducted by Military Times and Syracuse University's Institute for Veterans and Military Families which showed Gary Johnson and Donald Trump in a virtual tie for support among the nation's military also revealed that 55 percent "strongly" or "somewhat" oppose the "U.S. government's continued involvement with nation building in the Middle East and North Africa."

62 percent of those participating in the survey think the U.S. should be less involved with foreign aid and 51 percent think the U.S. should be less involved with "stability and state building." 68 percent think the U.S. should be more involved with "homeland defense" and 62 percent want more done in the realm of "counter-terrorism."

The Military Times editorial explains why support for the past generation of U.S. military interventionism is so unpopular with the military:

Beyond their break-neck operational tempo, military personnel have watched hard-fought gains evaporate in both theaters. Provinces and cities where American troops bled and died have fallen back into the clutches of brutal extremists whom the U.S. sought to displace in the name of peace, prosperity and democracy.

Helmand. Nangarhar. Kunduz.

Ramadi. Fallujah. Mosul.

The list goes on and on and these fights aren't even over yet.

Adding that ongoing U.S. military operations aren't just limited to Iraq and Afghanistan, but also include "conducting airstrikes in Libya, patrolling the South China Sea, training NATO allies along Russia's borders," the editorial argues that feeding "America's war weary armed forces" with "vapid rhetoric" won't boost morale or make them any better equipped to perform their necessary duties, but "clearly defining and articulating strategic purpose and objectives" before committing to a "military solution" could help the active armed forces be more inclined to believe in their mission.

It's a statement that seems so obvious, you could imagine it doesn't need to be said. But given the fact that one of the two people who will be the next Commander in Chief thinks he can treat service-people like his own personal toy soldiers, while the other has never met a military intervention she didn't support, it's as good a time as any to belabor the obvious.

Our military is tired and they need to stop fighting other people's wars.

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  1. You know who else excitedly started up a new war after his country suffered a humiliating defeat in a previous war resulting in high debt and an epidemic of depression and PTSD?

    1. Napoleon?

    2. King George?

  2. It’s a sad day when the troops no longer support the troops.

    1. Only in Trump’s Amerikkka!

    2. Speaking of PTSD, this article ought to induce a nice case in cytotoxic.

    3. Speaking of PTSD, this article ought to induce a nice case in cytotoxic.

      1. Huh, that’s yet another handle I haven’t seen in a while. Are they all keeping Warty busy in his basement?

        1. Cytotoxic has been grounded for a while now. His mom took away his internet access.

  3. I’ve always found it odd that politicians and the public seem to treat military interventions with relatively low risk of US casualties as being zero cost. It still drags people away from their families, it still asks military personnel to deal with the fact that they are killing people, some of whom will invariably be innocent (even if is from a distance), and then people come home and lots of the public probably don’t even know what’s been happening.

    1. What, like Bosnia?

      1. I flew back from that one (8 months), turned in my stuff, did 2 days of demobilization crap, flew home on Friday and was back at work on Monday.

        Two people could even remember that was in Europe…

    1. Oh Gary. And yet I still think he was probably the best choice for the LP. *Sigh*

    2. Got me. I thought for sure there was already a new one.

      1. Be fair to yourself, there was a non-zero chance it was another one.

    3. The Libertarian Republic reached out to the Clinton campaign for comment, but was unable to reach Hillary Clinton, who was attending an important sponge bath at an undisclosed assisted living facility. Her husband, former president Bill Clinton, who had just returned from a golf outing with Donald Trump, took the call.

      “Favorite STD?” he mused. “Does it have to be one I’ve had?”

      “I don’t care who you are, that’s funny right there!”

  4. You know what pisses me off? Well I’m gonna tell you. People who “support the troops” but keep sending them into harm’s way for no purpose. You wanna support these guys? Don’t send them to die for now reason. I don’t see how getting blown up in Afghanistan was dying for freedom.

    1. You know what pisses me off? The widows who sent their ‘loved ones’ off to fight foreign wars then go snivelling to President Obama after they died because they refused treatment because they thought that ‘getting help’ for their ‘PTSD’ would make people think that they were ‘weak’.

      1. The Rob Roy is a cocktail created in 1894 by a bartender at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan, New York City.

        Main alcohol: Scotch whisky
        Ingredients: 5/6 oz Sweet Vermouth, 1 1/2 oz Scotch Whisky, Dash Angostura Bitters
        Preparation: Add ingredients to a mixing glass and stir over ice, strain into a chilled glass, garnish and serve straight up, or mixe in rocks glass, filled with ice.
        Served: Choice of “straight up” or “On the rocks”
        Standard garnish: Maraschino cherry or lemon twist
        Drinkware: Cocktail glass

      2. dajjal derp de derp. derp de derpity derpy derp. Until one day, the derpa derpa derpaderp. derp de derp. Da teedily dumb. From the creators of Der, and Tum Ta Tittaly Tum Ta Too, dajjal is Da derp Dee derp Da Teetley derpee derpee Dumb. Rated PG-13.

    2. This is precisely why I never seriously considered serving in the military. I love this country and the principles it was founded on. But the chances that I would be forced to shoot someone or be shot by someone because some dickhead politician needs to goose their poll numbers (Clinton – Bosnia), or settle a personal vendetta (Bush II – Iraq), or just because (Obama- Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Afghanistan) and not because it was required to defend our country made the decision to not even consider signing up that much easier.

  5. This reminds me of a WaPo story I was just reading about the abuse of some Marine recruits at Parris Island.

    Anyway, I got no problem with combat training being as grueling realistic as possible. War ain’t no joke. But then there’s just sadism (in this paticular instance, the DIs threw some muslim kid in the fucking dryer and turned it on). That has nothing to do with training for battlefield conditions. And yet half the commenters are just calling the kid a pussy and bloviating about how everybody owes them eternal unquestioning gratitude for keeping us all free (from ISIS, presumably. Lord knows they’ve have conquered the entire New World by now if we hadn’t stopped them).

    As a quasi-vet (Army National Guard, 413th CA BN out of Lubbock, TX), this shit makes me sick.

    1. I’d be willing to place a fairly hefty wager that not a single one of the commenters calling him a pussy actually served in the military.

      1. A bunch of them have handles indicating they are former Marines. I know that doesn’t mean squat, but they’re all basically pulling the, “Pussy weak civilians need safe spaces well YOU’D ALL BE MUSLIMS NOW IF IT WASN’T FOR US YOU WEAK WORTHLESS PEASANTS BLARGLE BLARGLE BLARGLE!!!”

        I mean real A Few Good Men type of bullshit.

        1. Such people do exist. I’m sure at least some are what they claim.

        2. Yeah, its a real problem for former members of the services – Moto-Douche Syndrome.


          1. Laughed my ass off!

            You mean you don’t have veteran license plates and a USN sticker in the back window of your pickup?

            1. Not even a discreet ‘crossed anchors’ – no tattoos either.

              Even my ‘USS *’ hats are crumpled up in a box that has the remains of my uniforms in the garage.

      2. I would NOT take that bet.

        Either they never served, or tried to go in but washed out because they were actually pussies and are now trying to compensate for their own failures by calling other people pussies.

    2. When you volunteer, nobody owes you shit.

      1. Well….volunteering to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic” and getting planted in between murderous Pashtuns and vengeful Tajiks might need at least a bit of an explanation, yes? I would think that might be owed.

    3. everybody owes them eternal unquestioning gratitude for keeping us all free

      This reminds me of a time in an airport a while back. Some young guy ahead of me to get food was wearing a uniform (I forget which branch). The lady in front of him insisted on buying him lunch. He politely refused but she said, and I remember this exactly “You saying there is no need for me to buy you lunch is like me telling you not to fight for our freedom.” He gave in.

      Now, it’s a nice enough gesture and all, but

      1) Buying some kid lunch is in no way shape or form even remotely equivalent to being in combat. Seriously, WTF?
      2) In all likelihood the kid was a computer tech or served in some other non-combat role and wasn’t seriously in harms way.

      I have a lot of respect for the military, both the individual guys who sign up and the institution as a whole, but the cult following is so damn frustrating.

      1. 1. If she had said, “I know it’s a small token, but it would make me feel good to do one small thing for a member of our Armed Forces”. Would you be a little less pissed? Was it the act, or just her comment that you’re upset about?

        2. Even if that’s true, he is stuck on some base, most likely many miles from his family. He can’t put any real roots down anywhere because in “x” number of years he’s going to be transferred to a different location. So, while he may not be putting his life on the line (yet) he is making a sacrifice.

        1. Again, I have zero problem with someone wanting to buy lunch for someone else because they are in the military. It’s the disconnect between reality and this woman’s view of what she was doing that I find frustrating.

      2. Thank you for your service. I hated that shit. How do you respond?

        I always wanted to say (as Mainer2 points out above) “You want to support the troops? Write a letter to your congressmen demanding they pull them out of the multiple clusterfucks the government has created.”

        Fifteen years of war!

        1. I just say thanks for paying your taxes…

        2. Thank you for your service. I hated that shit. How do you respond?

          I always just said “thank you as well” and moved on. But I always found it embarrassing more than anything else.

          That said, if someone wanted to pay for my lunch, I wasn’t about to turn them down.

          1. I just say ‘Thank you’ and move on. I also find it kinda embarrassing.

            My military service period was not a sacrifice. Sure it was hard work, but I was well-compensated for it (and, by definition, it was the best compensation I could have gotten – or else I would have taken *that* job instead) and after 21 years, while still pretty close to being in the prime of my life, I collect a decent paycheck just for waking up in the morning, topping off anything I get from work.

            I just sort of accept it and act as a proxy for those guys who *have* made sacrifices to do this work.

  6. Wait a second, you are telling me that soldier’s *DON’T* like being dismembered and irreparably scared in their early 20s fighting in places they had never heard of just because someone in Washington had a wild hair?

    1. It does seem counterintuitive at first.

  7. Stupid Johnson should have made bringing home the troops his number one platform point.

    “America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and Independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.” – SecState J.Q.Adams 1822

    1. I’m still stunned that neither Johnson nor Bernie did this. Most military guys I know don’t have an issue with war as a principle, but after 25+ years of deployments and combat in the Middle East, the whole concept has just burned itself out with them. Even a typical E-3 can make the connection between things like worn-out equipment and insufficient manning, and our country’s multi-decade habit of playing ME policeman.

  8. Serious question: at what point does the military leadership say “enough is enough” and refuse to follow the CIC’s orders? When/ if that happens, that’ll be … “fun.”

    1. The US has been at war for 93% of its existence. If it hasn’t happened yet it ain’t gonna happen.

      1. Sadly, you’re probably right. On one hand, I don’t particularly relish the idea of a full blown military coup, but it would nice if they showed some stones and said, “You know, what? No, Mr/ Madam President, we’re not going to throw away more American lives for no good fucking reason. Fuck off, slaver!” I’m not sure how they do that without staging an actual coup, which is probably why it never has and never will be done.

    2. I was going to say, “When he disregards the Constitution.” But that’s obviously not the correct answer.

      1. Like not being a natural born Citizen.

    3. My libertarian wet dream:

      Chairman of the Joint Chiefs: “I’m sorry Mr. President, there is no immediate threat to the territory of the United States. I cannot commit troops on your command alone. You will need to present a declaration of war from the Congress. (hands the President a pocket copy of the Constitution.) Article I, Section 8, Sir.”

    4. Anybody that rocks the boat in the military tends to get pushed out pretty quick. That goes double for the flag officers, who are basically glorified butt-kissers. It’s extremely rare for anyone with a lick of vision, integrity, and accountability to make it far enough to a point where it would actually make a difference.

      Look at the Navy. That dipshit Mabus is so dedicated to using the military as an SJW experiment that he questioned the integrity of Marine combat studies/training that showed gender-integrated combat units were less effective than all-male units, and is probably going to nerf combat training to the lowest common denominator out of spite just to say that “a woman can do anything a man can do!” The only actual qualifications that Eric Fanning and Deborah James to lead the Army and the Air Force, respectively, appear to be that they tick off certain diversity boxes and spent several years in various consultation/bureaucrat positions, not actually serving in the military dealing with the day-to-day shit that the average grunt has to put up with.

      You think these people are going to tolerate any flag officers that don’t tell them what they want to hear? Not a chance.

    5. Pretty much never. And I pretty much think it should be that way. The US military has ‘submission-to-civilian-authority’ in its foundation. Once a military starts to be able to say ‘no’, you’re not that far from a military that is independent enough to say ‘we’re in charge now’.

      There have been very few militaries willing to remain *solely* as a check on an overreaching government. Some have *done* that, but that era ends sooner or later with them getting into bed with the very government they’re supposed to be watching. Like Turkey’s has done.

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