Nuclear Weapons

Where do soldiers get their news?

02.28.06 | 1 min read | Text by Ivan Oelrich

A new Zogby poll came out today. What is getting coverage in a New York Times article is that 72% of U.S. soldiers in Iraq believe we should substantially withdraw sooner rather than later. Perhaps this isn’t surprising, I have been to Iraq, and I would want to come home, too. But what did surprise me (and was not mentioned in the NYT) is that 85% believe that the primary reason we are in Iraq is “to retaliate for Saddam’s role in the 9-11 attacks,” while 77% said that “the main or a major reason” for the war was “to stop Saddam from protecting al Qaeda in Iraq.” This is a year and a half after the 9/11 Commission dismissed any meaningful relationship between Iraq and the 9/11 attacks or al Qaeda. Perhaps we cannot expect American soldiers to be better informed than the public at large and a large slice of the public has often linked Iraq and 9/11, in no small part because of innuendo from the Administration or direct claims, particularly from Vice President Cheney. Yet, today polls indicate that less than a third of the public still believe that Iraq had anything to do with 9/11. Soldiers in Iraq get their news through media that the military controls or at least is aware of. It is a shame that they are so poorly informed about why they are fighting.