Post-9/11 war vets: Bush over Obama

Iraq and Afghanistan veterans prefer former President George W. Bush to Barack Obama as commander in chief, a new Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation poll suggests.

Nearly two-thirds of post-9/11 veterans said Bush was a good leader for the military, compared to 42 percent who said the same about Obama, according to the survey released Wednesday. 

Only 32 percent of these veterans, the poll found, approve of Obama’s overall job performance as president, while more than half disapprove.

Veterans have a more favorable view of Bush despite the unpopularity of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

Half of those surveyed said the war in Iraq, which lasted almost nine years, was not worth fighting. Forty-four percent said it was worth it.

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Just more than half said the war in Afghanistan has been worth fightin, and 41 percent said it was not. The Obama administration is preparing to withdraw most troops by the end of the year, and is still weighing whether to leave behind a residual force. 

In the years after he left the White House, Bush has become an advocate for military veterans.

An overwhelming majority of them, 89 percent, said they would join the military again if they had the chance to do it over. 

Under the auspices now of the Department of Veterans Affairs, nearly 60 percent said the agency is doing either a fair or poor job. Only 38 percent said the VA is doing an excellent or good job.

More than half of these veterans said the government’s job, as a whole, is not so good or is poor in meeting their needs. Forty-one percent said it is excellent or good.

About half said they have taken advantage of the post-9/11 G.I. bill to receive education benefits, while the other half has not.

On sexual assault in the military, which some lawmakers have been trying to tackle, more than half of veterans surveyed said the military is already doing enough to handle the problem.

Forty-one percent said the military is not doing enough.

The poll comes as Afghanistan prepares for its first round of voting in its presidential election on Saturday. Afghan President Hamid Karzai is not eligible to run, and has refused to sign a bilateral security agreement with the United States, leaving a future residual force in question.

The Obama administration hopes someone more moderate will be elected, but there is some concern that Karzai could manipulate the election to affect its outcome. 

If none of the candidates wins more than 50 percent of the vote, a run-off election would be held on a date that has not yet been determined.