The bottom really has fallen out for Bush on Iraq.
The American military — once a staunch supporter of President Bush and the Iraq war — has grown increasingly pessimistic about chances for victory, according to the 2006 Military Times Poll.
For the first time, more troops disapprove of the president’s handling of the war than approve of it. Barely one-third of service members approve of the way the president is handling the war.
When the military was feeling most optimistic about the war — in 2004 — 83 percent of poll respondents thought success in Iraq was likely. This year, that number has shrunk to 50 percent.
Only 35 percent of the military members polled this year said they approve of the way President Bush is handling the war, while 42 percent said they disapproved. The president’s approval rating among the military is only slightly higher than for the population as a whole. In 2004, when his popularity peaked, 63 percent of the military approved of Bush’s handling of the war. While approval of the president’s war leadership has slumped, his overall approval remains high among the military.
If he’s lost the military, which clearly he has, then he’s also lost small town and rural America. This is a mortal blow. In the coming months, expect Congress (including Republicans) to become increasingly aggressive in opposing Bush’s war plans.
He’s climbed out onto the thinnest branch of the tallest tree in the world, and he’s all alone.