Survey Says…

The AP continues to bang the drum for failure in Afghanistan with this bit today about Army morale:

WASHINGTON (AP) – The army says morale has fallen among its forces in Afghanistan, where troops are seeing record violence in the 8-year-old war.

A new battlefield survey taken several months ago found instances of depression, anxiety and other psychological problems about the same as in 2007–but there was a significant drop in unit morale. The Army also says there is a shortage of mental health workers[.]

Efforts already under way to get more mental health workers to the war are hampered somewhat by last week’s shooting at Fort Hood. The army psychiatrist charged in the shootings was slated to go to Afghanistan. Some of the dead and wounded also were to deploy there to bolster psychological services for soldiers.

Lots going on here, so let’s unpack this some.

Has the “Army” actually said that morale has fallen? If so, shouldn’t the AP have included a quote from someone speaking on behalf of the Army? That they didn’t can only mean that the Army didn’t say it and that it’s an inference the AP is making based on the survey.

Which somehow is both “new” and “several months” old.

And about this falling morale–what’s causing it? Is it the “record violence”? Nobody in the Army is saying that and the survey results don’t indicate cause. Could there possibly be other reasons for this “significant drop in unit morale”? The AP sure doesn’t want us to think so. It ruins their narrative. But isn’t it reasonable to suggest that it may perhaps be due at least in some part to Obama’s hanging them out to dry for the past 2 months by refusing Gen. McChrystal’s request for adequate reinforcements? Or, since the poll was taken “several months ago” (didn’t the AP know the exact date?) could it be that the dip in morale is due to Obama himself? Does he instill confidence in you as Commander in Chief? What must his dithering look like to soldiers in the field?

And what about this “drop”? How “significant” is it? Don’t we have to know what they’re comparing the results to? They do say that incidents of “depression, anxiety and other psychological problems” are unchanged since 2007. Does this morale “drop” also relate to events since 2007? Might morale have been really high, I don’t know, maybe in late 2007 as evidence of the success of their brothers in Iraq gained traction? Compared to now, when Obama seems to be forfeiting the war on terror?

Finally…let’s for argument’s sake admit that we need more psychiatrists in Afghanistan. It’s absolutely laughable for the AP to say that efforts to do this were “hampered” by Army psychiatrist Maj. Hasan’s decision to murder 13 people instead of heading into the field himself.

Would they rather he went?

That’s a rhetorical question, but it’s worth a second to wonder whether the AP thinks it is.

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