A new survey of more than 3,400 active and retired field-grade officers found they are downcast about the state of the militay with 60% saying the nation’s armed forces are weaker than they were 5 years ago and 88% believe the war in Iraq had stretched the military “dangerously thin.” Two thirds of rspondents had combat experience although only 10% had served in Iraq or Afghanistan. Mot of them were students at senior-level military schools such as the Army War College.
The survey asked members of the militay if they agreed or disagreed with the following sentence: “Torture is never acceptable.” Although 44% disagreed a majority 53% agreed that torture should never be allowed. Of course, these officers lack the experience of President Bush who dodged combat and was never confronted with the possibility of becoming a prisoner of war.
Those surveyed were greatly concerned about extending any further the armed forces in new battle zones. They ranked the United States Army as the service branch which was most exhausted and not ready to assume new combat roles. Almost two in five wanted the draft reinstated in order to meet contemporary needs of the nation. On a one to 10 scale on having confidence in President Bush only 5.5 expressed this view with 16% stating they had “no confidence at all in the president.” Almost two-thirds of these military men believe America’s currrent crop of civilian leaders “are either somewhat or very uninformed about the U.S. miltary” and only 13% believe civilian leadership has set reasonable goals for the armed forces.