Survey: 'Nobody has confidence in this guy as commander in chief'
Posted: January 03, 2009
12:00 am Eastern
© 2009 WorldNetDaily
"A recent Military Times survey of active-duty service members found 6 of 10 U.S. soldiers polled said they were "pessimistic" or "uncertain" about Barack Obama serving as commander in chief of America's armed forces.
In follow-up interviews reported by the Army Times newspaper, respondents cited Obama's inexperience in leading soldiers, his plans for accelerated removal of troops from Iraq and his pledge to overturn the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy regarding homosexual service members as reasons for their cautious outlook.
"Being that the Marine Corps can be sent anywhere in the world with the snap of his fingers," said one lance corporal who asked not to be identified, "nobody has confidence in this guy as commander in chief."
"How are you going to safely pull combat troops out of Iraq?" asked Air Force 1st Lt. Rachel Kleinpeter, an intelligence officer with the 100th Operations Support Squadron. "And if you're pulling out combat troops, who are you leaving to help support what's left? What happens if Iraq falls back into chaos? Are we going to be there in five years doing the same thing over again?"
Duke political science professor and civil-military relations writer Peter Feaver, however, says concerns about a new administration's leadership are to be expected.
"What [Obama] is seeing is not military hostility, but rather military caution, and caution that is reasonable because he has never been in the position of this office," Feaver told Army Times. "It's sensible and understandable that they have doubts about him.
"They respect the office of the commander in chief," Feaver said. "As long as he wields that office responsibly, then these numbers need not morph into a problem."
The sixth annual Military Times survey asked over 30,000 subscribers to Army Times, Air Force Times, Navy Times and Marine Corps Times newspapers, "How do you feel about President-elect Barack Obama as commander in chief?"
A total of 5,181 active-duty, National Guard and reserve and retired military subscribers responded to the email invitation issued from Dec. 1 to Dec. 8.
Of the 1,947 active-duty soldiers that responded, a third answered that they are "optimistic," while 25 percent answered "pessimistic" and 35 percent admitted to being "uncertain." The "uncertain" response differs from "no opinion," which garnered 8 percent of the vote.
Other survey results found that nearly 80 percent of the respondents support the war in Afghanistan and nearly the same amount favor increasing troop strength there, though 30 percent believe it may take more than 10 years of military presence in Afghanistan to achieve American goals.
The majority of active-duty service members also oppose Obama's campaign pledge to end the "don't ask, don't tell" policy and allow homosexual soldiers to serve openly in the armed forces. 14 percent said they would consider ending their military career after serving their obligated tours of duty if the policy was repealed.
Army Capt. Steven J. Lacy, a logistician assigned to the 71st Transportation Battalion, told Military Times he's worried about the effect open homosexuality may have on military units.
"I think a lot of people are," Lacy said. "In the field environment, you're in very close proximity to one another. The fact that someone could be openly gay could exacerbate stress on teams and small units when you're already at a high stress level."
71 percent of respondents in the survey, however, said they would continue to serve even if the policy was overturned.
Army Times reported that as a voluntary response poll and not a scientific, random sampling, the survey could not calculate a statistical margin of error or guard against variances caused by the characteristics of Military Times subscribers. The responses cannot be considered representative of the opinions of the military as a whole."