Poll: Grim Assessment of US Wars in Iraq, Afghanistan
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - As two of the US longest wars finally end, most Americans have concluded that neither achieved its goals, new polls found.
Those grim assessments in a USA TODAY/Pew Research Center poll underscore the erosion in support for the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and the loss of faith in the outcome of the wars, both launched in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, USA Today reports.
The public's soured attitudes may make it harder the next time a US president tries to persuade Americans of the value of military action when it involves putting thousands of US troops in harm's way.
In the survey:
On Iraq, Americans by 52%-37% say the United States mostly failed to achieve its goals. That is a decidedly more negative view than in November 2011, when US combat troops withdrew. Then, by 56%-33%, those surveyed said the US had mostly succeeded.
On Afghanistan, Americans by a nearly identical 52%-38% say the US has mostly failed to achieve its goals. In 2011, a month after Osama bin Laden was killed, a majority predicted the war would succeed.
"What is especially interesting about these responses is that the public has continued to update its views on Iraq and Afghanistan despite the fact that these wars have received virtually no attention at all from our politicians over the past couple of years," said Christopher Gelpi, a political scientist at Ohio State University who has studied attitudes toward the conflicts. "This shows that the public is more attentive to costly wars than we might expect, even when politicians try to ignore the conflicts."
By 10 percentage points, 51%-41%, Americans say the US made the right decision in using military force in Afghanistan. Still, that narrow majority does reflect a significant shift in views. In 2006, two-thirds of Americans said invading Afghanistan was the right decision.
But when it comes to Iraq, support for the decision to go to war has crashed. The invasion was launched in March 2003 with Bush administration officials asserting Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, though they were never found. At the beginning, Americans by 3-1 called it the right decision.
Now, by 50%-38%, they call it the wrong one.