"The Board," the newish blog of the Times' editorial page, posted the rather self-congratulatory sounding"Officers Agree: The Military is in Trouble," Tuesday afternoon, based on a survey of current and former military officers showing widespread dissatisfaction with the state of the military after years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. But what about all the Clintonites (and old Times reporters) on its staff?
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are taking a huge toll on the American military. Who says so? The nation's military officers, who are in as good a position as anyone to know.
Two Washington-based think tanks, the Center for a New American Security and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, through its Foreign Policy magazine, have done the nation a huge service by surveying more than 3,400 current and former military officers, one of the few comprehensive polls of this segment of the population in the last 50 years.
Here are some results from the survey, which is being released today:
60 percent of the officers surveyed say the military is weaker today than five years ago, largely because of Iraq, Afghanistan and the punishing rate of troop deployments.
More than half say the military is weaker than it was 10 or 15 years ago.
Some 88 percent say the demands of the Iraq war have stretched the military "dangerously thin."
The officers rate their confidence in Mr. Bush - who was hugely popular with the military in the 2000 election - at a mere 5.5 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best.
So just who is the Center for a New American Security?
Why, a group that includes a number of former Clinton administration officials and appointees.
Why, that sure looks to be an objective group.
Hey, look, there's Rand Beers, who served as National Security adviser to the Kerry-Edwards campaign....
See the full list here.
Perhaps JWF's most interesting find, and one totally unacknowledged by the Editorial Board, were the two Times reporters that serve as "writers in residence," whatever that might entail, for CNAS:
David E. Sanger, Writer in Residence (New York Times)
Greg Jaffe, Writer in Residence (Wall Street Journal)
David Cloud, Writer in Residence (New York Times)
Both Sanger and Cloud are apparently on leave from the Times, as their bylines haven't appeared in months.
At first glance, The Center for a new American Security could charitably be described as center-left, albeit one filled with Democratic hacks. It's no surprise Sanger would be comfortable writing for the organization, given his track record of anti-Bush reporting.
You can read the raw survey here, featuring loaded questions to agree or disagree with, such as (emphasis added):
"The demands of the war in
Iraqhave broken the military." U.S.
"The demands of the war in
Iraqhave stretched the military dangerously thin." U.S.
In your judgment, what level of impact will General David Petraeus' counterinsurgency strategy and the so-called "surge" of additional U.S. forces into Baghdad have on the ultimate achievement of the US military's goals in Iraq?
Even given that loaded question, the military officers responded overwhelmingly positively to the surge, with 88% either finding it to be "very positive" or "somewhat positive." That particular tidbit didn't make it into the Times' editorial posting.