For First Time Ever, America Thinks Afghan War Was a ‘Mistake’

It took the country 12 years to lose confidence in America’s longest war.

Soldiers with the United States Army's 3rd Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment are seen on a joint patrol with the Afghan National Army prepare for a joint patrol with near Command Outpost Siah Choy on March 28, 2013 in Kandahar Province, Zhari District, Afghanistan.
National Journal
Dustin Volz
Add to Briefcase
Dustin Volz
Feb. 19, 2014, 2:53 a.m.

A plurality of Americans now believes that it was a mistake to send soldiers to fight in Afghanistan after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, marking the first time in the war’s history that fewer Americans supported the combat effort than opposed it.

Forty-nine percent of Americans now believe the war was not ours to fight, according to a new Gallup Poll, compared with 48 percent who still believe chasing the country’s Qaida cells was the right thing to do. The margin is slight, but it marks a steep decline in those favoring the intervention over the years, which once registered at a high of 93 percent in early 2002.

But it has taken Americans longer to turn on its longest war than any other fought since the Korean War. It took the country only six months to sour on that campaign, in part due to Chinese intervention in North Korea that helped create a quagmire.

Similarly, Americans turned against the Vietnam War relatively quickly. About a quarter of Americans told Gallup they opposed what Lyndon Johnson once dubbed “that bitch of a war” when the polling service first gauged public opinion in the early summer of 1965, while six in 10 supported it. By October 1967, 47 percent saw involvement there as a mistake, compared with 44 percent who supported it.

Remember Iraq? Just 15 months passed from the start of that war in March 2003 before a majority of Americans—54 percent—viewed it as a mistake.

Part of the reason why it took so long for Americans to develop negative views of the war in Afghanistan is because so few opposed it at the outset. When the war started in those early, post-9/11 days, only 9 percent thought military intervention was a mistake. Between one in five and a quarter of Americans opposed the nation’s other modern wars when they began.

The results are sure to rile defense hawks like Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican, who has expressed concern that the U.S. is turning inward and shirking its exceptionalistic duties as an international force for good and democratic order.

By a large margin, Democrats and “Democratic leaners” are more likely to view the Afghan War as a mistake. Fifty-nine percent now say putting troops on the ground in 2001 was wrong. Just 36 percent of Republicans think so.

Gallup’s telephone interviews were conducted from Feb. 6-9 among a random sample of 1,023 adults. The poll’s margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.

What We're Following See More »
19 FACE-TO-FACE MEETINGS
Latest Count: 12 Trump Campaign Staffers Had Contact with Russians
7 minutes ago
THE LATEST
THREE STILL UNACCOUNTED FOR
Eight Seaman Rescued as Navy Plane Goes Down Near Japan
20 minutes ago
THE DETAILS

"Eight people were rescued and three remained missing after a U.S. Navy plane crashed into the western Pacific Ocean on Wednesday, the Navy said. The C-2 “Greyhound” transport aircraft came down about 500 nautical miles (925 kilometers) southeast of Okinawa as it was bringing passengers and cargo from Japan to the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, the Navy said in a statement."

Source:
AT ISSUE: COMEY FIRING, SESSIONS’S RECUSAL
Mueller Seeks Documents from DOJ
2 days ago
THE LATEST

Special counsel Robert Mueller "is now demanding documents from the department overseeing his investigation." A source tells ABC News that "Mueller's investigators are keen to obtain emails related to the firing of FBI Director James Comey and the earlier decision of Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from the entire matter."

Source:
MULVANEY SAYS PROVISION ISN’T A DEALBREAKER
Trump May Be OK with Dropping Mandate Repeal
2 days ago
THE LATEST

"President Donald Trump would not insist on including repeal of an Obama-era health insurance mandate in a bill intended to enact the biggest overhaul of the tax code since the 1980s, a senior White House aide said on Sunday. The version of tax legislation put forward by Senate Republican leaders would remove a requirement in former President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law that taxes Americans who decline to buy health insurance."

Source:
FRANKEN JUST THE BEGINNING?
Media Devoting More Resources to Lawmakers’ Sexual Misconduct
2 days ago
THE LATEST

"Members of Congress with histories of mistreating women should be extremely nervous. Major outlets, including CNN, are dedicating substantial newsroom resources to investigating sexual harassment allegations against numerous lawmakers. A Republican source told me he's gotten calls from well-known D.C. reporters who are gathering stories about sleazy members."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login