One of the more maddening aspects of the Cindy Sheehan story is the implicit argument that her virulent anti-Bush, anti-war attitudes represent a lot of military families, and perhaps even the secret views of soldiers themselves.
But during last year’s election campaign, the Annenberg Public Policy Center (definitely not part of the VRWC), polled members of the military and their families. While the October 16, 2004 press release (written by NYT alumnus Adam Clymer) stressed issues where service members and their families disagreed with the President, there was this gem back in the data tables:
Q: “Do you think the U.S. should keep military troops in Iraq until a stable government is established there, or do you think the U.S. should bring its troops home as soon as possible?”
Among the troops (both regulars and reserves), the vast majority (79%) insisted on staying in Iraq until victory was assured, vs. 17 percent who said leave as soon as possible. Among just family members, a smaller (but still pretty convincing) majority of 65 percent wanted to stay in Iraq, vs. 30 percent who wanted to leave.
The networks have been lavishing attention on loudly anti-war voices of relatives such as Sheehan and war veterans like recently defeated congressional candidate Paul Hackett, but unless there’s been an absolute sea change in attitudes in the last 10 months, such coverage merely masks the real support from the majority of both warriors and their families.