WASHINGTON – Members of the military and their families say the Bush administration underestimated the number of troops needed in Iraq and put too much pressure on inadequately trained National Guard (search) and reserve forces, according to a poll released Saturday.
The National Annenberg Election Survey (search) found that 62 percent in the military sample said the administration didn't send an adequate number of troops to Iraq. And 59 percent said too much of a burden has been put on the National Guard and the reserves when regular forces should have been expanded instead.
Family members were more critical of the administration's Iraq policy than those on active duty.
This critical view comes from a military group that has a more favorable view of President Bush, Iraq, the economy and the nation's direction than Americans in general.
A slight majority of the military and families, 51 percent, said showing photos of flag-draped coffins being returned to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware would increase respect for the troops.
The Pentagon has refused to release government photos of the coffins, saying it has begun enforcing a policy installed in 1991 intended to respect the privacy of the families of the dead soldiers.
On other military matters:
_Four in 10, 42 percent, said gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve openly in the military, and 50 percent said no. Family members narrowly supported the idea, while those in the active military opposed it.
_One-fourth said the military draft should be reinstated, three-fourths said no. That is about the same level of opposition to the draft in the general population.
_Six in 10 of the regular military in the sample said they were properly trained and equipped.
_Only four in 10 of the Guard members and reservists questioned said they were properly trained and equipped.
_The military sample overwhelmingly approved of the work of women in the armed forces. Three-fourths said they performed as well as the men they work with.
_Eight in 10 said soldiers responsible for the Abu Ghraib prison abuse and their immediate commanders should be punished. Half said higher-level commanders should be punished and three in 10 said civilians in the Pentagon should be punished.
The poll of 655 in the active military (both regulars and reserves) and their families was taken Sept. 22-Oct. 5 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. Their answers were compared with those of 2,436 adults surveyed Sept. 7-Oct. 3 with a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.