Has Bush lost the military on Iraq?

A poll shows service members turning hard against the war.

Published January 2, 2007 8:28PM (EST)

If George W. Bush thinks he's been led astray by the U.S. military, well, the feeling seems to be mutual. A new poll of military members shows shrinking support for the commander in chief and the way in which he's handling the war in Iraq.

As Bush reportedly mulls an early departure for Gen. George Casey, a Military Times poll of active-duty service members has just 35 percent approving of the way in which the president is handling the war. In the 2004 version of the annual poll, 63 percent of the respondents approved of Bush's war efforts.

In the 2003 version of the poll, 65 percent of the military respondents said the United States had done the right thing by going to war in Iraq. Now just 41 percent think so.

Fifty percent of the poll's respondents have served at least one tour of duty in Iraq. Are they confident that their work there will pay off in the long run? Not so much. Only 13 percent of the respondents say that the United States is "very likely" to succeed in Iraq. Thirty-seven percent say the U.S. is "somewhat likely to succeed," 31 percent say the U.S. is "not very likely to succeed," and 10 percent say the U.S. is "not at all likely to succeed." Only one in five says that Iraqi forces will be ready to replace a large number of U.S. troops within the next two years.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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