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Measuring morale in Iraq

August 28, 2007

Re "Morale dips as some GIs say leaders are way off base," Aug. 25

Sgt. Maj. Marvin Hill, assigned by Army Gen. David H. Petraeus to gauge the morale of U.S. troops in Iraq, said he would rank morale at eight on a scale of one to 10. Yet a mental health survey of more than 1,000 troops in May, the latest data available, indicated that 45% thought morale in their units to be low or very low, while only 7% thought it high or very high.

This slap-in-the-face discrepancy between what military leaders and the White House are claiming and what troops in the field are voicing should stand as a stark predictor of the brash dishonesty surely to be reflected in the upcoming White House and Petraeus Iraq reports to Congress and the American people.

While bombproof personnel carriers are still in woefully short supply in Iraq, the White House is rushing rose-colored glasses there by the truckload.

Tracy Culp

Valencia

Has ever a war been fought that one could not find three enlisted soldiers to confide that they thought their leaders were way off base?

If The Times believes the views of an Army specialist and two staff sergeants are worthy of a Page 1 story on troop morale, then I will expect to see the quotes of three studio grips concerning the likely nominees for the next Academy Awards.

Gregory C. O'Brien Jr.

Rancho Palos Verdes

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