Iraq, Afghanistan, the Military and Your Show

Posted on October 6, 2011

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One of the trickiest topics for a host to navigate is the current state of the military. It’s a hot button topic for a lot of people that encompasses a number of different issues.

The Pew Research Center has just released the results of an extensive new study that looks more closely at American’s opinions about the wars we are currently fighting and the soldiers who are serving.

Here are a few of the more notable findings about the soldiers and the wars:

The Soldiers

  • Over 90% of respondents say they have felt proud of American soldiers since the Iraq and Afghanistan wars began.
  • 71% of Americans says the public has little or no understanding of the problems faced by people in the military.
  • 83% of people say military members and their families have had to make more sacrifices than the general public since the wars began.
  • But, of people who say the soldiers have sacrificed more than the public, 7 out of 10 say that’s to be expected, “it’s just part of being in the military.”
  • Americans are evenly split on the idea of advising someone to pursue a military career. 48% say they would while 41% say the opposite.

The Wars

  • As of today 57% of respondents says the war in Iraq has not been worth fighting, and 52% say the same about the war in Afghanistan.
  • Only one out three people say Iraq or Afghanistan comes up in conversation with family or friends while nearly 70% say the economy is a common topic of discussion.
  • In the last two years only 25% of Americans say they have paid close attention to the wars. That’s down from nearly 50% in 2002 and 2003.
  • 31% believe the war in Iraq has increased the likelihood of another terrorist attack in the U.S. while 26% say it has lessened the chances. The highest percentage, 39%, believe it has made no difference at all. Opinions about Afghanistan were largely similar.

The report goes deeper into gender, ethnic and political differences on all of these topics so if you are covering the military on your show in any form I recommend reviewing the data yourself so you will have a better understanding of how your audience in particular may be feeling.

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