Pew Bias? Poll says 6 in 10 vets have ‘isolationist inclinations’

I originally posted this today at The American Conservative blog, @TAC

Buried in an amazing poll released by the Pew Research Center today that says 1 in 3 post-9/11 veterans believe the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were ‘not worth fighting,’ is an assertion that 6 in 10 such veterans polled also have ‘isolationist inclinations’ simply because they believe “the United States should pay less attention to problems overseas and concentrate on problems here at home.”

This bit of editorializing by Pew is interesting, and shows how successful the establishment/neoconservative message machine has been in propagating the belief that anyone who wants to pull back from our global military adventures to concentrate on the devolution of our fiscal stability at home is an “isolationist.’ The outrageous thing is that here, we are actually talking about people who fought in the wars. Those pushing the ‘isolationist’ meme with such vigor — think Charles Krauthammer, Bill Kristol, Steven Hayes –  have never picked up a gun, much less sat in a line to pick up a measly prescription at a VA pharmacy. Sure, Sen. John McCain, who likes to fling around the isolationist charge quite a bit, was a Navy pilot and POW, but he’s still fighting Vietnam, and thinks every war is worth a go today, and is willing to put every last man and woman in harm’s way to prove it.

But when 1 in 3 soldiers say fighting the wars was “not worth it,” especially those who leave countries still teetering on the brink, come home to apathy and no jobs  (11.5% unemployment rate for post-9/11 vets), marriages on the rocks (51%), disconnected from their children (44%) and suffering from post-traumatic stress (37%), I’d say their “inclinations” to refocus on the homefront are much better informed than the elitist warmongers whose dirtless fingernails have been drumming conference tables for the last 10 years, not the butt of a weapon or a bedside table at Walter Reed.

No, it’s not isolationist, it’s realistic.

But don’t think these vets have gone soft on war or the military as an institution: “84% of all post-9/11 veterans who served in a war zone would advise a young person to join (the military),” according to Pew.

And the beat goes on.

9 thoughts on “Pew Bias? Poll says 6 in 10 vets have ‘isolationist inclinations’”

  1. “84% of all post-9/11 veterans who served in a war zone would advise a young person to join (the military)”…

    It's tempting to respond to this with "some people NEVER learn," but, perhaps there's a simpler motivation behind such a statement . It could be a desire to "share the misery," the idea being that "if I'm going to suffer for the sins and stupidity of the Reigning Establishment, then damned if everyone else shouldn't too." In other words, misery loves company. It's not that these vets feel that military service is "worth it," but that they shouldn't be alone in suffering for it, physically, psychologically, and economically.

    1. There's a line like that in Genesis, Fountain of Salmacis: "and I beg -yes I beg -that all who touch this spring may share my fate." I can remember a mentality kinda like the one you're describing: Try talking to a superior about improving something about the local situation for your friends, and you might hear –or just detect: 'i went thru it; so should they' or 'everybody gos through it, and that's just the way it is.'

      …one sadder idea: it's an improvement on public school and the lifeless world those twelve years of excessive confinement may leave you with. The 'highs' in the military can be very high compared to the drudgery of just making your own way with little relevant experience for it.

  2. Pee-ewe Polling is dicking with the polling numbers again. Skew those questions to attain the desired results. As for Sen. Warmonger McCain, first thing that comes to mind is 'colluding with the enemy'. You know, from the well suppressed reports about McCain's days at the Hanoi Hilton.

  3. Maybe it is time to wear the label "isolationist" as one of honor. As one who equated that label as equivalent to crypto-fascism for many years, I have slowly come to realize that I am, in fact, an isolationist at least as how that label was defined in the 1930s.

  4. We've demonstrated a strong track record of being very disciplined with the use of our cash. We don't let it burn a hole in our pocket, we don't allow it to motivate us to do stupid acquisitions. And so I think that we'd like to continue to keep our powder dry, because we do feel that there are one or more strategic opportunities in the future.

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