National Affairs: Burning Ears

In theory, the nation's generals and admirals plan the armed forces of the U.S. in the cold light of threat and necessity. In actual fact, they keep sonar-sensitive ears tuned to what the U.S. public is thinking, and keep Hollywood-size public-relations staffs to help the public think. Last week the Pentagon got an earful of public opinion—and its ears were burning.

Pollster George Gallup's pollsters asked the public, "Which branch of the armed services do you think should be built up to a greater extent—the Army, Air Force or Navy?" The answers: Air Force, 54%; Army, 11%; Navy, 8%; no opinion, 20%;...

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