May 2005
By Alan W. Dowd

Polling Power: Troop Support in Iraq Still High

Although the major television media have painted a far different picture, US troops are squarely behind the effort to rebuild Iraq, according to a poll conducted by the Military Times. 

The poll, which surveyed active-duty troops from the Air Force, Army, Marines and Navy, found that 63 percent of respondents support the President’s handling of the war. Six in 10 believe the war was worth the effort. Support is even higher among veterans of Iraq combat, with 67 percent of this group saying “the war is worth fighting.”

The troops aren’t naïve about what lies ahead in Iraq. “Nearly half say they expect to be there more than five years,” according to the Army Times. Among the poll’s other findings:

-87 percent are satisfied with their jobs
-75 percent oppose a new military draft
-66 percent say the military is stretched too thin, down from 77 percent a year earlier

Over the Line?

Arizona lawmakers are considering a measure that would authorize the state to contract out construction for a private prison to hold illegal immigrants—but not in Arizona. Instead, lawmakers want the prison to be built inside Mexico’s borders.

As the Associated Press has reported, the proposal was triggered by the rising costs Arizona taxpayers shoulder in incarcerating illegal immigrants who have been convicted of other crimes. Today, Arizona correctional facilities hold some 4,000 illegal-immigrant convicts. The costs are so high that Gov. Janet Napolitano has sent a $118-million bill to the federal government.

The proposal to create a special commission to oversee what the bill calls “operations and administration of private prison facilities that are located in Mexico” won easy approval in a House committee. However, it faces several other hurdles before it can be sent to the Governor, not the least of which is the question of “whether the state could fulfill its responsibility to oversee a prison…located in another country,” as one lawmaker matter-of-factly reminded the AP.

As a contributing editor to The American Legion, Dowd writes columns and news briefs on national security, foreign affairs and U.S. politics each month for the magazine's "Rapid Fire" section.