View Full Version : General Concerned About 'Growing Gap' In Perceptions Of Iraq War

08-26-2005, 03:07 PM
General concerned about 'growing gap' in perceptions of Iraq war


1 hour, 1 minute ago

WASHINGTON (AFP) - General Richard Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, expressed concern Friday about a "growing gap" between the US public's perception of the war on Iraq and that of the troops fighting it.

Myers, who returned this week from a trip to US bases around the world, reported high morale among American forces in Iraq and elsewhere, saying they saw the progress being made first hand.

"The biggest question they ask is, what's going on back home?" Myers said.

"Our troops overwhelmingly want reassurance that they will be allowed to finish what we began four years ago," he said.

His comments come amid signs that public support for the war is eroding after more than two years of fighting an insurgency that shows little sign of abating.

Recent polls show a majority of the US public believes the war is going badly and that some or all US troops should be withdrawn.

The shifting public mood has been accompanied by the rise of a visible anti-war movement and increasingly vocal criticism by some political leaders who have cast Iraq as another Vietnam.

"I am concerned about what appears to be a growing gap between what people are hearing back here in the United States and with what we saw on this trip," Myers said.

Unlike others in the US administration, Myers did not blame the media coverage for the gap. Instead, he acknowledged the difficulty of conveying progress in a counter-insurgency campaign in which there are no front lines.

"If we're a nation at war, the most important thing we have right now in this kind of conflict is our will and our resolve," he said.

He added: "And of course you worry about resolve. I mean, that's what this is all about.

"And if you look at what the adversary is trying to do, of course, their whole strategic communications plan, if you will, is to try to weaken that resolve," he said.

Myers suggested that while there should be serious debate at home over Iraq, its tone should be tempered by the stakes involved.

"I think people need to talk very responsibly and consider their words carefully when they talk about this conflict," he said.