Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Le Moyne College Poll

This is what people have been talking about. Triumphant anti-war folks are claiming that this finally shows that our soldiers in Iraq agree that we should leave. In fact, it turns out, our soldiers in Iraq apparently agree with just about everything that the anti-war people have been trying so hard to get us hawks to admit.

Interesting, that.

I'd like to know if the poll questions are available anywhere. The summary raises some questions in my mind. Knowing how *exactly* the poll was worded might answer them.

For example... did the question about internationally banned weapons include the words napalm or white phosphorus? More than one milblogger is calling BS on that one. Would four of five soldiers answer that they oppose the use of WP in the battlefield for any purpose? I would expect our soldiers to answer that laws should be followed and banned weapons not used. I wouldn't necessarily expect them to ask for clarification "banned by whom?"

55% of those surveyed said that "it is not appropriate or standard military conduct to use harsh and threatening methods against insurgent prisoners in order to gain information of military value." This is interesting. Even more interesting is how it is presented... "And, even as more photos of prisoner abuse in Iraq surface around the world,"... The clear implication is that what 55% said was in conflict with the facts. A less obvious implication is that the 55% were talking about torture, as the "pictures" are linked to the question. "Harsh and treatening" is pretty low key, really, and I don't see how it could be equated to torture or even to "sadistic and humiliating"... 55% answered that NOT EVEN to gain information of military value was it "appropriate" OR "standard military conduct" to use harsh or threatening methods. We can't even assume that any significant amount of the remaining 45% think it's okay to actually hurt prisoners, even to get valuable information... only that harsh and threatening might be appropriate in a pinch.

What are "harsh or threatening" methods?

I think we all know... if we ever watch Law & Order and they have an interrogation scene.

Lastly... I think this is interesting. 24% said that "establishing a democracy that can be a model for the Arab World" was the main or major reason for the war. I think that's remarkable because it's a really big-picture way of looking at the situation and soldiers often are focused more narrowly on their particular mission. The summary of the poll puts a "Just" in front of that statement. *Just* 24% responded that way. Well, technically, yes. But the implication of that is that this is a smaller than expected result. Expectations are bias.

Okay, that's not the last thing. I could go on with nit-picks forever but without the poll questions themselves I can tell if there were questions to reveal changing attitudes over time to support John Zogby's statement that the reason 93% said that WMD is not a reason for US troops to be there is because "that initial rationale went by the wayside..." Did they determine that the soldiers who took the poll *had* that"initial rationale" or is that just Zogby's opinion?

Smash is also talking about this.

And Glenn Reynolds has additional links... I just can't figure out how to link the entry that has them.

Still learning, I hope I'm forgiven.

MORE: ( 5 March 2006)

Mudville Gazette has a link to the poll questions asked.

As you can see, no reference was made to "internationally banned" anything. The question was if weapons like napalm or white phosphorus should be used on insurgents.

I'm not sure what I think of that. It doesn't say "shouldn't be used ever" or anything like that. Or "shouldn't be used by our military". It just asked if it should be used on insurgents.

Like I've said, I don't know who they interviewed to get 1 in 4 female respondants. I don't know enough about the battlefield uses of white phosphorus to say, but would going into houses and arresting insurgents or returning fire in populated streets be appropriate for those weapons?

I think that someone is reading a whole heck of a lot into this survey that simply isn't there.

Update: (9 March 2006)

According to these guys, white phosphorus is used in grenades that 80% of infantry soldiers carry.

Who did Zogby interview?

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