more morale

When Murtha sacrilegiously suggested we set a strict deadline and pull-out troops, many defenders of the Iraq war accused him of destroying troop morale and, in Cheney's words, "self-defeating pessimisms." While a poll indicated that many Americans agreed that domestic criticism hurt troop morale abroad, I noted that this failed either to indicate that Americans disagreed with Murtha or wanted to continue in Iraq. My speculation aside, today James Joyner at TCS also questions that logic, but from the perspective of the troops. "Does Criticism of the War Undermine Troop Morale?" He answers, no really: a) the soldiers on the ground are much more optimistic about the mission than the American intelligentsia, b) those in the thick of war are those the disconnected with media reports and the sway of sentiment in the US, and c) military men and women choose to fight, going in knowing it may be very rough, but it's their choice; and they are therefore unlikely to be so easily discouraged by the comments of a few politicians.

In sum, though some worry (naively, with good intentions) that troop morale is lessened upon learning that some hold the opinion the war should come to an end, this fails to disprove that the public doesn't think it should come to an end. And, via Joyner, following a patriotic duty to question the rightness and wrongness and dumbness of military action doesn't impede troop morale imperilously.