Americans 5x More Confident in Military Than in Congress

The MSM delights in highlighting President Bush's anemic poll numbers. Congress's approval rating in the latest Gallup poll was so shockingly, historically, low at 14% that the MSM could hardly ignore it.

But there was another finding emerging from that same Gallup poll that has received very little media attention: the societal institution that enjoys, by far, the highest confidence among Americans is, at 69%, the military.

Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Bill Carr discussed the Gallup findings on last night's "Right Angle," the Ithaca-based TV show that this NewsBuster hosts. While clearly pleased by the military's achievement in that regard, Sec. Carr was also duly diplomatic about it, as this exchange reflects.

RIGHT ANGLE HOST MARK FINKELSTEIN: So 70% for the military, 14% for Congress, which if my mathematics are correct, that's five times more confidence in the military than in the Congress. So perhaps some of the Pentagon officials should keep that in their back pocket the next time they're being grilled up on the Hill.

DEPUTY UNDERSECRETARY OF DEFENSE BILL CARR: We would never raise that.

But I just did.

View video here.

In other comments by Sec. Carr:

  • Despite a national unemployment rate of below 5%, creating a very challenging recruiting environment, "the active components of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines are all above 100% [of recruitment goals] for the year to date."
  • Discussing the financial incentives for members of the military, Sec. Carr stated that an enlisted person without a college degree, with two years of service, would be drawing a financial package of about $35,000 annually, the figure rising to $42,000 for those in combat zones.
  • Discussing a recent Pentagon decision to drop questions about mental health treatment from the questionnaire used in granting security clearances, Carr indicated that the presence of such questions tends to discourage people from getting the mental health treatment they need. There are numerous other aspects of the security-clearance granting process, including reviews of school and police records, that would reveal any relevant concerns.
  • On a related note, the military has lifted its ban on enlistment eligibility for those who have had an ADD diagnosis or received medications such as Ritalin, which has become very common in recent years among young people. Having consulted with epidemiologists, the Pentagon concluded that it would be appropriate, without compromising safety or performance in any way, to permit those who have been off such medications for a year to enlist.

Contact Mark at mark@gunhill.net

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.