Poll: 60% Of Americans Say Iraq War Wasn’t Worth Fighting
Ten years after it began, a majority of Americans say that the Iraq War was not worth fighting according to a new poll:
Ten years after U.S. airstrikes on Baghdad punctuated the start of the Iraq war, nearly six in 10 Americans say the war was not worth fighting – a judgment shared by majorities steadily since initial success gave way to years of continued conflict.
Nearly as many in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll say the same about the war in Afghanistan. And while criticisms of both wars are down from their peaks, the intensity of sentiment remains high, with strong critics far outweighing strong supporters.
A key reason: A substantial sense that neither war did much to achieve their goals of enhancing U.S. security. Only about half of Americans say either war contributed to the long-term security of the United States, and just two in 10 say either contributed “a great deal” to U.S. security – clearly insufficient, in the minds of most, to justify their costs in lives and lucre.
WORTH IT? – As such, 58 percent in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, say that considering its costs vs. its benefits the war in Iraq was not worth fighting; 56 percent say the same about the war in Afghanistan.
These results are dramatically different than they were when the wars began long ago. The war in Iraq, a few weeks after its start on March 20, 2003, was supported by 80 percent of Americans; in Afghanistan, in late 2001, support exceeded 90 percent. In neither case, it seems, did the public expect conflicts as long, as complicated and as costly as ultimately transpired.
Similarly, at the time of the fall of Baghdad at the end of April 2003, 70 percent of Americans described the Iraq war as worth fighting – nearly twice as many as do so today.
This isn’t entirely surprising, of course. By the time the last American troops pulled out in 2011, the general consensus among the public was that the war had been an abject failure notwithstanding the fact that we had deposed Saddam Hussein. After that, though, we let the situation spiral out of control due in no small part that nobody in the Bush Administration bothered to do any planning for the post-Saddam Iraq, while those who did, such as Eric Shinseki, were derided and pushed aside. Indeed, at this point the only people who still believe in Iraq War can be found in the Republican Party.