From Inside the Ring:
Marine Corps Cpl. David Goldich, a University of Virginia graduate who spent two tours of duty in Iraq, says Democratic attacks on the war undermined troop morale.
Cpl. Goldich, who returned from Anbar province in November after about 300 combat patrols, stated in a candid account that negative comments by Democrats had “a dramatic effect on morale, especially on troops who are otherwise indifferent and disdainful of politics in general.”
“I cannot tell you how many times I have overheard Marines and soldiers talking about various inconsiderate comments made from the likes of [Sen.] John Kerry [Massachusetts Democrat], [Rep. John P.] Murtha [Pennsylvania Democrat], [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid [Nevada Democrat], and [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi [California Democrat] about how we cannot win, how we should be brought home, etc.,” he said.
“The Kerry comments really cemented his reputation with the troops and upset people more than anything else. It is unnerving to volunteer for service during wartime hoping to be deployed and having to listen to a politician explain how the troops need to come home, especially when we clearly have not finished what we started.
“There is a widespread perception amongst the Marines I know, even those uninterested in politics, that the Democratic Party does not want us to win in Iraq for whatever reason. This is true even amongst Democrats who still maintain the party viewpoint on almost every other issue but the war. Morale is always a tricky issue to deal with, and it is difficult to tell a Marine to buck up when he sees important people back home undercutting his primary reason for existing at the moment.”
Mr. Kerry came under fire in November 2006 when he joked that soldiers in Iraq were “stuck” there because they did not study hard in school.
Even more undermined than troop morale is troop respect. Marines come in all political flavors. Most don’t talk politics at work, but some express themselves at breakfast while Fox News is on in the DFAC. I overheard some anti-Bush sentiment, especially when 2-136th CAB MNARNG got extended three months, but I don’t recall ever hearing any pro-Pelosi, pro-Reid, pro-Kerry or pro-Democrat remarks. Disgust at the oxygen thievery and douchebaggery of politicians was mostly expressed either nonverbally or with monosyllabic grunts of profanity.
Maintaining morale, that of the armed forces and that of the citizenry, is a vital function in wartime. We as a polity seem to have divested our government of any capability to rally our spirits while enhancing the ability of The “Loyal” Opposition to depress the hell out of us.