Here's a poll showing Americans trust the military commanders much more than either the President or Congress to deal with the war:
Only 5 percent of Americans — a strikingly low number for a sitting president’s handling of such a dominant issue — said they most trusted the Bush administration to resolve the war, the poll found. Asked to choose among the administration, Congress and military commanders, 21 percent said they would most trust Congress and 68 percent expressed most trust in military commanders.I don't think that disparity between the President and Congress means people side more with Congress than the President, because those who side with the President are probably much more likely to put the military first when given those three choices. The President himself continually expresses trust in the military commanders.
Some Democrats took issue with the characterization of General Petraeus as operating free of influence from the administration, suggesting that they would like to diminish his credibility heading into days of intense sparring over how much more time Mr. Bush’s strategy for Iraq should be given.If so, then the poll demonstrates extremely strong public trust in the President. (Note: I said if.)
“I don’t think he’s an independent evaluator,” Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, said on “Fox News Sunday.”
Read on in the linked article, and you'll see that Americans also support troop withdrawals and think the war isn't worth fighting. That's what they say when they are asked what they would do if they had to trust themselves with the war. But do people have a confidence in those opinions about military strategy that displaces the 68% trust in the military leadership?
UPDATE: Mike Nizza offers these bullet points on the opening statement:
- Overall Assessment: “The military objectives of the surge are in large measure being met.”
- Most Important Development: The rejection of Al Qaeda by Sunni tribes in Anbar province. Other areas are following suit, he adds.
- End of Surge: The troop levels in Iraq can return to pre-surge levels by the Summer of 2008, he said. “However, in my professional judgment, it would be premature to make recommendations on the pace of such reductions at this time,” he added.
- Violence: A slew of charts reports that violence is dropping in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq. The general says the number of attacks and deaths would be lower without Al Qaeda in Iraq’s attacks. One chart shows that two provinces have seen increasing violence during the surge.
- Al Qaeda in Iraq: The deals with Sunnis in Anbar province and operations against leaders of Al Qaeda in Iraq have left the group “off balance,” but not defeated, he asserted.
- Iran: The general said there is evidence that the Iranian government is using its Al Quds force to help spur the insurgency in Iraq, a charge that the U.S. military has leveled before. The aim, he said, was to create a friendly organization in Iraq as Iran has in Lebanon with Hezbollah.