American Hindsight: Wars Aren't 'Worth It'

The Iraq war wasn’t worth it, say an overwhelming majority—and increasing number—of Americans.

Results of an NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Annenberg poll of over 1,300 voters conducted this month found that 71 percent of respondents said the occupation that began in 2003 wasn’t worth it.

That marks a considerable increase since January 2013, when an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showed 59 percent of respondents said it the war wasn’t worth it.

A CBC News/New York Times poll also out this week and conducted this month similarly showed widespread regret for the war; those results showed that 75 percent of respondents said the invasion was worth neither the loss of life nor monetary costs. That’s up from 67 percent in 2011.


Those results show the Iraq War may be even more unpopular than the Vietnam War, but they also follow a pattern.  Gallup polls from the 1960s through 1970 revealed increasing percentages of people who thought that war was a mistake, and a 2000 Gallup poll showed that 69% of Americans said the war in Vietnam was a mistake.

In December 2013, a Washington Post/ABC News poll found that 66 percent of Americans thought that the war in Afghanistan wasn’t worth it—a spike from the 52 percent who in 2010 said it wasn’t worth it.

In addition, a Pew Research Center/USA Today poll released earlier this year showed that a majority of Americans thought the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were ‘failures.’


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