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Poll: Most Americans Have Harsh View of Iraq and Afghanistan Wars

January 31, 2014

A USA Today/Pew Research Center poll found that the majority of Americans don’t feel that goals were met with the Iraq or Afghanistan wars.

USA Today reported, “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 U.S. combat troops withdrew. Then, by 56%-33%, those surveyed said the U.S. had mostly succeeded.”

“On Afghanistan, Americans by a nearly identical 52%-38% say the U.S. 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.”

“In recent months, news reports from Iraq have centered on renewed fighting with al-Qaeda fighters and a government riven along sectarian lines. In Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai has resisted American demands to sign a security agreement setting out the U.S. role once combat forces are withdrawn by the end of the year.”

These numbers are not necessarily surprising after the recent uprising of al Qaeda linked militants taking over key cities in Iraq and the uncertainty surrounding the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

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