U.S. Military Faults Lack of Troops in Iraq - Poll
A majority of U.S. troops serving in Iraq and their families said the Bush administration did not send enough forces to Iraq and relied too heavily on the National Guard and reserve troops, a poll showed on Saturday.
Almost two-thirds of those surveyed by the Annenberg Public Policy Center, or 65 percent, said they believed President Bush "had underestimated the number of troops needed in Iraq," the poll said.
But while 60 percent said part-time troops were overburdened and the number of regular troops should have been expanded, a larger majority, 74 percent, said they were opposed to reinstating the draft.
Annenberg researchers surveyed 186 troops who were serving on active duty in Iraq between February and October, including full-time, National Guard and reservist forces. If they were not available for polling, a family member was surveyed.
The results were part of a larger survey of 655 troops or their families.
Forty percent of National Guard members and reservists surveyed said they did not have enough training or supplies for their mission in Iraq, compared with 35 percent who said they were adequately prepared, the poll found.
Despite those doubts, the military generally supports Bush and the efforts in Iraq, the poll showed. But support from those who spent time in Iraq was lower by about 10 percent.
The poll, conducted from Sept. 22 to Oct. 5, also found the military "overwhelmingly disagreed" with the administration's photo ban of military coffins arriving at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.
(SF Chron story of same poll) Sixty-seven percent of respondents said they approved of the way President Bush was doing his job, compared with 49 percent in a sample of the general public collected during the same period.
Similarly, 69 percent of survey respondents said they had a favorable opinion of the president, while just 29 percent had a favorable opinion of his Democratic opponent, Sen. John Kerry. That compared to a nationwide favorability rating of 49 percent for Bush and 44 percent for Kerry.