This article comes from Military Times. (A Gannett Company)
By Andrew Tilghman
To the list of skeptics who question the need for air strikes against Syria, add an another unlikely group — many U.S. troops.
“I haven’t heard one single person be supportive of it,” said an Army staff sergeant at Fort Hood who asked not to be identified by name.
A Military Times survey of more than 750 active-duty troops this week found service members oppose military action in Syria by a margin of about three to one.
The survey conducted online Monday and Tuesday found that about 75 percent of troops are not in favor of air strikes in response to reports that the Syrian government used chemical weapons to kill civilians in that country.
A higher percentage of troops, about 80 percent, say they do not believe getting involved in the two-year-old civil war is in the U.S. national interest.
The results suggest that opposition inside the military may be more intense than among the U.S. population at large. About 64 percent of Americans oppose air strikes, according to a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll published Monday.
The Military Times survey is an unscientific sampling of Military Times readers and reflects the views of many career enlisted members and officers.
For many troops, money is a key consideration. Troops question the cost of bombing Syria at a time when budget cuts are shrinking their pay raises, putting their benefits package at risk and forcing some of their friends to separate involuntarily.
“We don’t have money for anything else but we have a couple hundred million dollars to lob some Tomahawks and mount an expensive campaign in Syria?” said Army Sgt. 1st Class Chris Larue, a 39-year-old maintenance expert at Fort Eustis, Va., referring to the precision-guided missiles that are likely to be used in any strike.
The debate about striking Syria is also revealing a strain of isolationism growing inside a battle-weary military that has spent more than a decade supporting high-tempo war operations overseas.
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