Monday, June 20, 2011

Americans Involved in Too Many Foreign Conflicts, New Poll Finds

At The Hill, "The Hill Poll: Majority says military involved in too many places." (At Memeorandum.)

And pluralities don't think U.S. intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq has made us safer. Check the link. For the general public, it's war-weariness that explains this. But on the ideological fringes, the findings will give support to isolationist voices who deplore the forward exercise of American power.

What's interesting about about the survey is there's no mention of President Obama's deployment to Libya. Yesterday's Los Angeles Times had an outstanding piece on outgoing Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. He's been on record of late saying that the U.S. is a little tired of war, and that the military needs a break. And from the Times' piece:
Gates' concern for the troops is a key part of his legacy as he leaves office.

He has pushed the lumbering Pentagon bureaucracy to turn out new armored vehicles and other equipment to keep soldiers safer in combat and to get them treatment faster when they are wounded.

And he has become a voice of caution and even outright opposition to committing American forces to new wars. Gates publicly questioned the need to join the NATO air war in Libya, arguing that the military already was overstretched in Afghanistan and Iraq. Since then, he has sought to limit the U.S. role.

Gates emphasizes that he would not hesitate to support sending troops to another conflict if national security were threatened, and he favors only "modest" reductions in troop levels in Afghanistan in coming months. That puts him at odds with some in the Obama administration who want to bring U.S. troops out sooner.

But the longer he is in office, Gates said, the "heavier" the burden he bears when he is asked to make decisions that inevitably involve sending more American troops to their deaths.

"I've got a military that's exhausted," he said. "Let's just finish the wars we're in and keep focused on that instead of signing up for other wars of choice."
I think that's a fair statement, and it's especially noteworthy considering President Obama's amateurish and hypocritical rationale for military intervention.