The Effect of “Cut-and-Run” Rhetoric on Troop Morale
From the Washington Times’ Rowan Scarborough:
Pentagon officials say they are increasingly worried that Washington’s political fight over the Iraq war will dampen what has been high morale among troops fighting a tenacious and deadly enemy.
Commanders are telling Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld that ground troops do not understand the generally negative press that their missions receive, despite what they consider significant achievements in rebuilding Iraq and instilling democracy.
The commanders also worry about the public’s declining support for the mission and what may be a growing movement inside the Democratic Party to advocate troop withdrawal from Iraq.
“They say morale is very high,” said a senior Pentagon official of reports filed by commanders with Washington. “But they relate comments from troops asking, ‘What the heck is going on back here’ and why America isn’t seeing the progress they are making or appreciating the mission the way those on the ground there do. My take is that they are wondering if America is still behind them.”