[[P O L L S]] * While George W. Bush’s job approval among the general U.S. population has risen somewhat from his record lows in the weeks following Hurricane Katrina, the withdrawal of Harriet E. Miers as a Supreme Court nominee, and the indictment of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, his support remains significantly lower than it was at this time last year. Dissatisfaction with his performance is seen even among members of the U.S. Armed Forces--the one group whose support he consistently goes out of his way to win. According to a poll by the Military Times Media Group, approval of the prez’s policies in Iraq among active-duty personnel has declined from 63 percent a year ago to just 54 percent now. And backing of his overall efforts in office has tumbled by 11 points, to 60 percent (still 15 to 20 points higher than most civilian polls). Bush has long used the U.S. military’s storied endorsement of his Iraq war against critics who say he should be planning for troop withdrawals. As Military Times remarks, this latest poll is “likely to add further fuel to the heated debate over Iraq policy.”
Meanwhile, U.S. Representative John Murtha Jr., the hawkish Pennsylvania Democrat and Vietnam War vet who kicked up so much partisan rancor in mid-November by describing the Iraq war as “a flawed policy wrapped in illusion” and recommending that troops be brought home as soon as possible, reiterated this week on ABC’s Nightline news program that Iraq was “absolutely” the wrong war for Bush to have started. When asked whether he would think of joining the military today, former Marine Murtha said, “No.” Inquiring further, the interviewer asked him, “And I think you’re saying the average guy out there who’s considering recruitment is justified in saying ‘I don’t want to serve.’” To which Murtha responded, “Exactly right.”
READ MORE: “Slipping Support in the Military,” by Steve Benen (The Carpetbagger Report); “Stick a Fork in It, Iraq Is Done,” by Trey Ellis (The Huffington Report).