Friday, March 31, 2006

# Posted 7:22 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

AN IRAQ VETERAN LOOKS AT MORALE: Marine Lt. Nathaniel Fick, author and activist, has some interesting observations about the recent poll that John Murtha is using to claim that the troops are against the war.
(6) opinions -- Add your opinion

The context of the poll questions asked can give you whatever answer you were looking for. If I asked,"Would you like to go home now and see your mate, kids or girlfriend?" most would answer yes. Could I then say most soldiers want to leave Iraq now?
I'm not sure if Murtha has gone around the bend on his own, or if he's just the unwitting designated hitter for the Dems, or both.

Either which way, I feel bad for the guy, he seems like a decent enough fellow and doesn't deserve to go into retirement on such an ill-advised partisan note.

It's a shame too that his name is turning into a verb as in "pull a full Murtha," but it's somewhat appropriate given his freely supplied ammo.
You are misreading Murtha. He is not the least bit partisan. He speaks for the professional military.

Murtha is very connected into the branches and is universally respected based on his long service record. Murtha isn't a designated hitter for the Democrats although it is easy for Republicans to dismiss him this way. Instead, his statements represent a vent for the soldiers that he talks to on a daily basis, the officers who serve on the ground.

You shouldn't feel bad for the guy. You should listen to him.
Note that a majority of Marines still think the U.S. should pull out in a year.

The poll mainly shoots the legs out from those who proclaim that questioning the purpose or chances for success of the troops' mission means that one is against the troops themselves or wishes for their failure. Not that it will stop them, but hey.
How would one know how to interpret such a statistic unless one knew the entire survey item? Is there a link to that somewhere? I mean, suppose the choices were, pull out in 1 year, 10 years, or never? Hell, I'd answer 1 year to that. It might be meaningful if the options were 1 year versus "when the job is done," but my guess is that if that had been the option the latter response would have gotten 90%. The fact that the question wording isn't available essentially means that the empirical results are impossible to interpret. They're meaningless without that critical information.

And yes, I've been involved in political polling on a professional and academic basis, so I'm not talking out of my hat.
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