US public consider wars in Iraq and Afghanistan failures


The US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, two of the longest in US history, waged simultaneously for nearly nine years with the Afghanistan war now stretching into its 13th, are considered failures by a majority of the US public.
This is according to a poll, released Thursday by Pew Research Center and USA Today, which finds that 52 percent say the US “mostly failed” to reach its goals in Iraq, with 37 percent saying, “It has mostly succeeded.” Respondents gave nearly identical answers when asked about the war in Afghanistan.
“Especially looking at the escalating sectarianism and violence today that is directly the result of the US wars and occupations, it is not surprising that an even a bigger majority recognizes that these wars are failures,” said Phyllis Bennis, senior fellow at Institute for Policy Studies, in an interview.
The assessments reflected in the poll, which was conducted January 15-19 with 1,504 adult respondents, are significantly more bleak than previous ones. In November 2011, 56 percent of respondents said the US had achieved its goals in Iraq, and in June 2011, 58 percent predicted that the US would achieve its goals in Afghanistan.
While the public narrowly supports the decision to invade Afghanistan, this support is “among the lowest levels of support for the original decision to use force in Afghanistan since the Pew Research Center began asking the question eight years ago,” according to Pew.
“It seems to me that the majority of the American people long ago recognized that these wars are failures,” said Bennis.
“People have different reasons for thinking it is a failure,” she added. “That the wars were based on lies, were not based on a search for justice but rather a search for vengeance, were never able to provide security or democracy for Iraqis and Afghans despite efforts to impose US-style political forms.”