National Security

Military Not Impressed by Commander in Chief

A new survey shows that military personnel disapprove of Obama's policies.

Dec. 23, 2014

Over the last six years of the Obama administration, the U.S. military has been forced to embrace significant policy changes that have amounted to nothing more than social engineering during a time of war. When a commander in chief and many members of Congress are more concerned with advancing the homosexual agenda and fighting the so-called “war on women” than they are with winning actual wars, there is sure to be dissent among the ranks.

A new Military Times survey of almost 2,300 active-duty service members finds just that. The Times reports, “Obama’s popularity – never high to begin with – has crumbled, falling from 35 percent in 2009 to just 15 percent this year, while his disapproval ratings have increased to 55 percent from 40 percent over that time.”

While the Military Times survey indicates there has been little upheaval and even increased support for these changes in policy – such as repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” – it remains to be seen what the long-term implications will be. Some military personnel chose to leave the service early as a result of the changes, but many acquiesced, and it appears that these professionals just don’t care all that much about someone else’s gender disorientation pathology. The military is, after all, a reflection of the culture.

If the military is undeterred by the social policy changes (for now), then what is the cause for Obama’s plummeting approval rating? It’s his foreign policy – or rather lack thereof. As National Review’s John Fund writes, “Much of the opposition to Obama has come from military members who believe he has been an inconsistent and flawed leader in foreign policy – for example, his 2011 removal of all troops in Iraq helped lead to the rise of the Islamic State, which then required a new U.S. intervention in the region.”

We have pilloried Obama’s foreign policy malfeasance extensively, and the military has grown more and more disgusted with this president specifically and the government in general. Simply put, our men and women in uniform do not want to put their lives on the line for a commander in chief who is so inept and determined to merely end wars rather than win them.

With the rise of the Islamic State, and the growing threat of Islamic extremism worldwide, the uniformed men and women who serve this nation deserve a clear objective so they can accomplish what is asked of them. The president’s half-hearted Operation Inherent Resolve isn’t going to cut it.

It is also worth mentioning that our troops are just as dissatisfied with the dysfunction in Congress. As noted by the Military Times survey, service members pay attention to politics and their elected officials more so than their civilian counterparts, with turnout for midterm elections “about 8 percentage points above civilian rates.” In addition to (or perhaps because of) this phenomenon, both the Republican and Democrat parties are less popular.

In the 2014 midterm elections, 28% of military voters identified as independent, up from 22% in 2006. Libertarian military voters increased to 9% in 2014, up from 3% in 2006. Most of this shift occurred at the expense of the Republican Party, which saw its share of military voters plummet from 49% in 2006 to 32% in 2014. Democrat support remains stuck in single digits.

Duke University political science professor Peter Feaver, a former George W. Bush National Security Council adviser, notes, “The military follows national trends but lags and skews conservative. … The libertarians’ sensibility fits with some of the military’s profile more naturally, particularly the ‘don’t tread on me’ kind of mentality.”

Patriots in uniform largely want to be left alone to do their jobs. They are tired of the commander in chief pandering to our enemies, and they are tired of Washington politicizing every military conflict. Whatever happened to applying overwhelming force to decimate our enemies? Perhaps the newly elected Congress can help shape a brighter future for our military, and 2016 may bring a momentous change in the White House.

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