Did anyone else catch this story on NPR this morning? It was about how US military personel overwhelming support the invasion of Iraq. Even more oddly (from NPR’s point of view) is that those closest to the front were the most supportive. There was one expert, Steve Robinson1 at the National Gulf War Resource Center, that claimed that this was because the soldiers were indoctrinated during training. Not only that, Professor Shelly MacDermid at Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University says, the soldiers were given “important” tasks, the completion of which boosted their self-esteem. Now, I was under the impression that self-esteem was an unalloyed good among the NPR set, but apparently not when it’s a soldier and leads to support for military action. Finally, MacDermid also says support for the war is also a defense mechanism to comfort soldiers while they’re risking their lives.
Does this strike anyone else as extremely insulting to our troops? It sounded to me like a bunch of smug poseurs wondering how anyone could be so daft as to support military action, especially if they would be part of it, before finally concluding that it could only be a psychological malfunction brought on by brainwashing. The concept that maybe either the soldiers had thought about what they were doing and supported it, or joined the military because they already supported it was outside the poseurs mental universe.
I shouldn’t be surprised, it’s exactly the kind of condescending tripe that is a specialty of NPR.
P.S. I will note that NPR at least admitted that they had to talk to a lot of soldiers before they could find one who was against the invasion. On the other hand, the narrator, Jeff Brady, stated that support for the war was due to “special training”.
1 Steve Robinson is listed on this page as “Executive Director” but the link to his biography doesn’t work.