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Friday, September 23

Majority US Troops Oppose Nation Building, Foreign Military Aid. It's about time.

Military Times, September 23, 2016
Most American military personnel are deeply skeptical of the United States' nation-building missions overseas and would prefer to see leaders in Washington focus the country's resources on less ambiguous missions like killing terrorists and protecting the homeland, according to a new first-of-its-kind survey.

The poll of more than 2,200 active-duty troops, a collaboration between Military Times and Syracuse University's Institute for Veterans and Military Families, gauged service members’ opinions on U.S. foreign policy priorities. It was conducted in early September.
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Today RT summarizes the findings of this important new survey:

US soldiers want fewer ‘nation building’ interventions, more attention at home - poll
After 15 years of wars, a majority of US service members are deeply skeptical about America’s foreign interventions. The US should focus on homeland defense and jobs instead of invading and “stabilizing” countries like Afghanistan or Iraq, a new poll shows.

Most active-duty members of the US military would prefer the government to refrain from overseas missions involving so-called nation-building, a number of costly and ambiguous efforts to reconstruct post-war countries, according to a poll run by the Military Times and Syracuse University's Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF).

The survey, described by the Military Times as a first-of-its-kind study, included a question:
How do you view the US government’s continued involvement in nation-building efforts, establishing democracies in the Middle East and North Africa using US military and financial support?
About 55 percent of service members said they “strongly oppose” or “somewhat oppose” those efforts, while 23 percent responded positively to an idea of carrying out such missions. The remaining 22 percent were either unsure or of no opinion on the issue.
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The majority of US servicemen surveyed by the Military Times and IVMF believe that the government should be more involved in combating terrorism (62 percent), homeland defense (68 percent), cyber security (81 percent) and nuclear deterrence (51 percent).
Notably, the troops expressed the most negative response on delivering foreign military aid to the US allies. About 62 percent said they believe Washington should be less involved with the foreign aid, and just 10 percent said the US must proceed with it.
Those who were against the foreign aid said they believe the US-run post-war reconstruction efforts comes at the expense of solving American’s most pressing problems.
We need to get out of foreign affairs and focus on our own country,” Duane Hulbert, a 26-year-old Air Force staff sergeant who responded to the survey, told the newspaper.
We need to build jobs around clean, renewable energy sources … It’s time to focus on how to protect this one world we live on. If we destroy it there is no going back.”
Other respondents seemed disillusioned with those nation-building efforts because they feel that the US non-military support for such goals has been used improperly.
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It would be great if Washington listened to these troops. More likely the veterans will have to run for a great many political offices, until their views on U.S. foreign/defense policies finally dominate in the halls of power. 

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