Carol Platt Liebau: Undermining Troop Morale

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Undermining Troop Morale

The MSM may not get it, the leftist crazoids may not get it. But the American people . . . get it.

According to the Washington Post's account of the bipartisan RT Strategies poll, "Seventy percent of people surveyed said that criticism of the war by Democratic senators hurts troop morale -- with 44 percent saying morale is hurt 'a lot,' . . . .. Even self-identified Democrats agree: 55 percent believe criticism hurts morale, while 21 percent say it helps morale."

Well, obviously. Who needs a poll to understand that the intemperate, ill judged and constant criticism of the Iraq war injures troop morale? Make no mistake: Those who are part of that 55% of Democrats -- and still engage in irresponsible criticism of the President and the war -- know exactly what they're doing and what it means.


Blogger Dan M said...

The President is the one who needs to extoll the successes of this conflict.

His communication Director needs to be cashiered, as does much of his communication staff. I agree with Mort Kondracke who observed that the White House communication team is the worst he has ever seen.

Go check out the slideshows over at Why is that private citizens are trying to supply the vacum created by the miserable communication efforts of this White House.

The Media is NOT going to give this President a fair shake, nor his Vice President, nor Rove, nor his agenda, be it domestic or foreign. How many times does this White House need a 2 by 4 delivered upside their head by the Media before they feel, know, understand and grasp that if they don't explain the war to the American people, no one else is going to be able to redress that delinquency.

Where would this Presidency be absent Rush, Hugh Hewitt, Hannity, Ingraham, et al. Talk radio and the bloggers are effectively CARRYING this administration. And it's time that it ends, and that the President and his team start shouldering the burden.

This isn't rocket science.

Like that photo Carol, those eyes grab and fix one's attention.

4:43 PM  
Anonymous Brian Boyko said...

Does criticism hurt morale? Oh, of course it does.

Every soldier over there would love to know that the American people support their fight overwhelmingly. They would love to know that they have enough troops, body armor, and equipment to do the job, they would love to know that the cause they were sent to fight for – to stop the deployment of WMDs – was successfully accomplished. They would love to know that their fight is concretely limiting the ability of terrorist groups to recruit and to accomplish their objectives against civilian targets. They would love to know that the Iraq we have created has been a freer, more civilized world without the use of chemical weapons against populations and without the use of torture against dissidents.

Most importantly, they would love to know that the people who sent them over there are competent commanders who are giving them the orders and the information they need.

The problem with these things – these ‘morale boosting’ statements – is that they’re all bloody balderdash. They’re all lies.

See, and this is something that conservatives don’t seem to get – the criticism of the war comes from the fact that there is much about the conduct of this administration in waging this war to be criticized. Criticism of this war is based entirely upon the fact that this war is not, in reality, any of the things I just listed above. Liberals really, truly, do not somehow wish any of the items above were true – we wish they were false. Yet they are true.

So when you talk about criticism hurting morale, well, yes, but the criticism isn’t the problem. The problem is that the truth hurts morale – that the facts hurt morale - that the situation American, Australian and British soldiers are in hurts morale, and that it’s a serious goddamned shame to this nation that the truth is seriously unflattering.

The fact that it is the critics of this war pointing this out is merely a logical eventuality. Anyone who speaks the truth about this war is going to decrease troop morale, because the truth is depressing.

If you want to increase troop morale, don’t send them on false pretenses then refuse to give them the tangible tactical equipment, troops, and very real logistical support that they very sincerely need. You can’t increase morale by lying to troops. Our soldiers are not stupid.

It is convenient that the idea – that troop morale to is so important, as if this war could be won on the good spirits of our Government Issue boys and not, it seems, on the competence of their command and their training – started to spread among the conservative ideology only when it was evident that the war itself turned out to be a cock up.

Yes, morale is a large factor in war. Troop strength, strategy and logistical planning are much larger factors: Russia had seriously horrible morale and they still held Stalingrad, so I think that if the war was, in two words, waged competently, it wouldn’t matter how good soldiers felt about getting shot at and bombed day after day.

I find it so ironic that an ideology that prides itself on avoiding the “touchy-feelies” and the “bleeding hearts” would suddenly place such an overemphasis on how soldiers “felt” and less of an emphasis on how soldiers “fought.” Because your average soldier in Iraq is fighting as hard as they can but they don’t have the urban warfare and police training, they don’t have the equipment, and they don’t have a strategy. I don’t even mean exit strategy – what exactly, the hell, is the Iraq war strategy other than blow shit up and get blown up? What are we trying to accomplish over there? What, indeed, is the entire goddamned point?

12:51 AM  
Anonymous JayHub said...

Carol, what concerns me about your post is that it assumes that since criticism of the war hurts troop morale, it is ipso facto irresponsible and should stop. Isn't it a given that any significant criticism of a war back home will always hurt troop morale? I believe so, and the question then really is when, in a democracy, does the criticism become more important than the price paid in morale? I certainly agree that in some situations criticism can be irresponsible, even cynical, and should not be countenanced. At other times, however, criticism can be rational, strongly felt and necessary for the country to reconsider an ill advised or failed policy. Don't you have to address the merits of the criticism rather than make a tautological statement that it is hurting troop morale?

8:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you heard the story about the fire that erupted the other night? A neighborhood was set ablaze, a huge five-alarm fire that took all the city's firefighters to contain.

While the fire raged, it became clear that the arsonist was none other than the fire chief. As the townspeople encircled him with clenched fists, the chief fidgeted. Finally, as the crowd grew ever closer, he put on the most anguished expression he could conjure, pointed to the firefighters and cried, "You all shut up! Look what you're doing to their morale! I can't believe you are questioning me instead of supporting these firemen! They're bravely fighting this fire for you and they don't deserve your criticism!"

But this story had a happy ending. After scratching their heads trying to follow his twisted logic, the townspeople just shrugged, grabbed the chief, and threw him in the fire.

8:20 PM  

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