Troops To Pro War Pols: Still No Thank You

I remember being a young sailor on board Ike when the 2000 presidential elections came around.  At the time I could best be described as politically apathetic, and had asked the advice of some of my shipmates who to vote for.

“You vote Republican,” one old salt told me.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because Republicans are the ones that take care of us.”

Before anyone even dares to ask, no, I did not vote for Bush.  Though my lack of vote could hardly be worn as a badge of courage at this point.  But my point is not intended to be a mea culpa for not taking interest in politics in my youth.  It is instead intended to point out the conservative culture of the military.

For as long as I was in the military, in general Republicanism seemed to dominate.  We were told that Republicans were the ones who cared about us and took care of us.  They gave us raises, and they resisted the cataclysmic changes to our culture such as allowing women to integrate on ships, and not allowing homosexuals to openly serve in our ranks.

That’s not to say that the entire military is either sexist or homophobic.  Though there do appear to be cultural strains along these lines, the military, just like any population, is full of a diverse array of opinions, including those that seem to look upon progress through a negative lens.

What is important is that there has for a long time been a great Republican influence in the military culture.  But it would seem that the occupation of Iraq is helping to change that.

ABC’s Martha Radditz calls it a “surprise” that so many soldiers appear to not be backing the Vietnam Veteran and presidential candidate John McCain, but instead are trending more towards the anti-war candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

While this is definitely an aberration from what I’m used to, I wouldn’t exactly call it a surprise.  Our first indicator came back in February when it was revealed that Ron Paul and Barack Obama were netting far more campaign contributions than their more hawkish rivals.

The last endorsement featured in Radditz’s article seems to me the one that is most poignant and telling in regards to what may be a general shift in the military’s culture:

Sgt. Cory Messingham from Lewisville, Texas, said he wasn’t following the race, but he was concerned about candidates’ paying attention to the emotional toll that the war has taken on soldiers.

“My biggest issue is support for the military, military funding and our deployments, not having long deployments anymore. Because [the] majority of us are doing …15-month deployments. So, it’s tough on the soldiers and tough on the soldiers’ families. Those are really my biggest issues.”

Oh.  So that’s what supporting the troops means.

More from memeorandum (note: you really got to love some of the righties’ comments on this): The Jawa Report, Weekly Standard Blog, Buck Naked Politics, Think Progress, Redstate, Hot Air, The Corner, NewsBusters.org, TPM Election Central and Donklephant

5 Responses to “Troops To Pro War Pols: Still No Thank You”

  1. Dynamic says:

    I served briefly in the US Army Reserve at around the same time and encountered the same attitude, by and large. During Basic, of course, there wasn’t much time for political discussion (but boy did we get into some religious debates on Sundays), but by the time I made it to my unit I discovered that I was vastly outnumbered, politically speaking. Republicans were everywhere.

    This is probably unrelated, but my unit was also totally cocked up. I’m eternally grateful I got out before they got called up because nobody but the CO and XO had their head on their shoulders. Interestingly, the XO was the other liberal in the group, though not at all to the degree that I am.

  2. Dude, I tried commenting on this last night, but it didn’t take. Will give it another go when I wake up this afternoon.

  3. Ricardo Martinez says:

    I served six and some change in the Active Duty Air Force with numerous trips to the sandbox and one lucky trip to that olfactory nightmare known as Camp Bucca. Of the seven months I spent making the roads of Iraq free for Democracy(really just dodging IED’s). Those seven months were the most frustrating and disillusioned months i have yet to spend on this earth.

    I use frustrated and disillusioned due to the impotent collection and execution of mission critical intelligence. The widespread insurgent infiltration of the local ING ( Iraqi National Guard) and systemic corruption of the local police forces.

    But the true killer of morale had to have been the shameful and extremely telling way our government failed to treat our returning wounded at Walter Reed. Couple that with the sickening obsession of the media surrounding the overdose of that gold digging Z-listed Anna Nicole Smith. As a serviceman, you don’t exactly buy into the message that Americans truly support the troops or all together really give a flying f*** about the wars in general.

    Well, enough bitching from me, I just want to say this, the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines have been keeping score. We know that when members of Congress, Republicans and Democrats, have 196 million dollars invested in the Military Industrial Complex there is a HUGE conflict of interest and that nothing good can come from that. I don’t think that those fighting the war really care about party affiliation as much as they care about who is going to get us out of this mess and take care of their brothers and sisters in arms upon their return.

    I enjoy reading your blog and hope to see you guys hold McCain’s feet to the fire for not co-sponsoring the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2007.

  4. Hey Ricardo, amen!

    I would normally say more, but I’m about ten minutes from going to bed. But I’m definitely going to take a look into that tip you provided. Definitely sounds like a hoot.

  5. DM Metzger says:

    As Kyle said, amen Ricardo. You can count on us to keep the fires stoked high on this issue.

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