Second of all, the only people surprised that there are people in the military who are liberals or liberal-minded or Democrats are the media, who have been spoon-fed a bullshit view of the military, fostered by God-Boy Republican wingnut officers who don't represent anything other than their own bias against other Americans.
Troops cannot speak their mind. They cannot exercise their First Amendment rights. This is not new, has never been new, and shouldn't shock anyone.
And they KNOW they can't really speak their mind. Countless examples are put in front of them by NCOs and officers--everyone is briefed and they are told, watch what you say to the media, refer a reporter to public affairs, etc--and they are told what the consequences are. The consequences are demotion, loss of money, loss of freedom. It's that simple. Do you really think that a soldier who is told repeatedly that he or she cannot start a blog without registering it with DoD and getting the approval of their Company Commander (for example) on everything that they write on that blog is then just going to blurt something out to a reporter?
ABC's Martha Raddatz asked American soldiers in Iraq what issues are most important to them when looking at the presidential candidates.
A look at the key political issues for U.S. soldiers in Iraq.Though the military is not supposed to engage in partisan political activity, these soldiers spoke out about their personal endorsements, and their opinions are likely to matter. In 2004, 73 percent of the U.S. military voted for a presidential candidate, and officials believe it may be even higher this time around.
PFC Jeremy Slate said he supported Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., because of his stated intention to pull out of Iraq right away.
"That would be nice," Slate said, "I'd like to be home, yea."
SFC Patricia Keller also expressed support for Obama, citing his representation for change.
Spc. Patrick Nicholls from Eggawam, Mass., pointed out that many soldiers on the frontlines frequently think about their families back home.
He suggested he was too engaged in Iraq to keep up with politics back home. "I haven't really been following it too much since we've been over here, ma'am," he told Raddatz. "So, don't really know which issues are too important to me right now. ... I don't know who's running, ma'am."
Lt. Leah Wicks said that, tied into concerns about her family's welfare, were concerns about the economy, "where we're going to be in the future."
Only moments before speaking with ABC News, the troops had been listening to Vice President Dick Cheney give a rousing speech, but it didn't change their political preference.
These stories don't mean anything when the troops all rally round the Surge and Bush and McCain; they don't mean much when they lean the other way.
What I do believe is this--no one is more sick of being deployed than someone who's done two or three tours in Iraq. I would have to believe that there is a schism developing in the military--anyone who isn't wearing a combat patch is probably not going to be a respected leader or a candidate for promotion or treated the same as someone who could put three different combat patches on their uniform.
That's my take on it anyway.