Pew study shows majority of Americans see failure in Iraq, Afghanistan


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  • Jamescmeyer Midwest City, USA, OK
    Feb. 6, 2014 7:30 a.m.

    I'm not concerned with what people "think". We've hammered in against Al Qaida on a level they still struggle to make up for, and more importantly, the people in Iraq can vote. The people in Iraq are free to speak, dress, worship, learn, and own their own property. No matter how much anyone may disagree with us having gone over, we've done an immeasurable service to those people.

    It's a shame so much propaganda gets thrown out against it; you almost have to speak with someone who actually fought there, or visit yourself and speak with the people to truly understand.

  • happy2bhere clearfield, UT
    Feb. 6, 2014 7:31 a.m.

    Not that I am especially smart, but I could have told Bush and others in his administration years ago that a country like the U.S. could never go to a Muslim country and change their culture. The Islamic religion is always entrenched in the body politic of such countries. To do so is like some foreign country coming to America and attempting to get Americans to change their Christian beliefs. Only worse in the case if Islam. And the U.S. is seen as the Great Satin to many in the Middle East anyway, so it is especially futile for the U.S. to have any lasting influence over there other than to help create more people who hate us. Nation building in the Middle East, stupid, stupid idea that will never work. At best we replace one dictator who turned on us with another who will turn on us, or be taken out by his own people.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Feb. 6, 2014 7:34 a.m.

    And I am one of those Americans who see a failure in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    We need to be much less willing as a country to get into military conflict around the world.

    I am not saying never, but extremely selectively, with the minimal amount of troops and money.

    The idea that we need militarily spread democracy around the world is crazy. Supporting democracy is one thing. Engaging militarily in long term occupations is completely different.

    The amount of money we borrowed (and continue to borrow) from China to support wars of choice should make any true conservative cringe.

    Iraq and Afghanistan are perfect examples of military conflict that should have never happened.

  • mohokat Ogden, UT
    Feb. 6, 2014 8:07 a.m.

    As usual look no further than the present occupant of the White House.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Feb. 6, 2014 8:39 a.m.

    I've been saying this for 13 years!

    BTW --
    The only way one can consider any of this a success is
    if you completely ignore the loss of 5,000 Americans,
    75,000 wounded,
    and $3 Trillion,
    so gasoline could stay under $5 a gallon.

  • 1covey Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 6, 2014 8:52 a.m.

    9/11 demanded a serious response. The Middle East is an extremely difficult area to deal with, because of the convoluted politics there. Islamic terrorists are still a problem, for the peoples of that region as well as the rest of the world. We need to do better; i.e. smarter than we have done. By itself, military action is insufficient; civil action helps; but,why not track the money trail and take action? Without funding, terrorism would shrink.

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 6, 2014 9:00 a.m.

    Well it shows how much very few Americans understand what is happening in the world. If you go back in history the US funded most of the terrorists groups we are now fighting. Back in the 1980's we wanted to make Afghanistan bloody the USSR and turn it into what Vietnam was for us. It worked. We trained, supplied and even gave propaganda material about invaders.

    Yep, that is what we are experiencing. Had Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Bush Sr, Clinton, Bush Jr, Obama realized when Osama declared Jihad on the US, Israel and other "infidels" we should have been working on this situation differently from the beginning. Instead Clinton was screwing any woman that liked him and was more worried about that than killing Osama or boosting our image in those countries that we had abandoned.

    Either way, we're abandoning them again. The problem is still there and like our national debt, our children and grandchildren get to inherit a bigger mess. But, hey we gave them "medical pot" to ease that pain!

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Feb. 6, 2014 9:43 a.m.

    For the same $3 Trillion we lost in the Middle East,
    The Government could have put Solar Panels on each and every house in America,
    bought everyone and an electric vechile.

    Think about it...

  • CHS 85 Sandy, UT
    Feb. 6, 2014 10:19 a.m.


    "As usual look no further than the present occupant of the White House."

    While I was in Iraq in 2004/2005 (funny I didn't see you there), I saw failure. That was long before the "present occupant of the of the White House."

    We were fed a line of lies and deception to take out an evil dictator who was bend on US destruction and had links to the 9/11 attacks. Hmmm. I saw friends killed and maimed for no real reason. All of us questioned why we were even there. Again, long before President Obama.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Feb. 6, 2014 10:35 a.m.

    The majority of Americans are, more often than not, correct.

  • Richie Saint George, UT
    Feb. 6, 2014 10:39 a.m.

    WE haven't read any of the history of Afghanistan. Iraq has a similar history but not quite so brutal. They are ruled by tribes. The last person to beat Afghanistan was Gengus Kahn in the 1200's. He destroyed a city then killed every man, woman, child and animal left. Then he moved on to the next city and repeated the same procedure. Ask Alexander the great, the British and Russians. They all lost and so are we losing. The last war that we won was WW II for one simple reason. We put a muzzle on the media and inflicted massive collateral damage. That includes England's 1000 airplane raids on Germany, our firebombing Tokyo and finally atomic bombing two Japanese cities. The Muslums don't mind inflicting massive collateral damage on us so we had better get smart before we die.

  • Thid Barker Victor, ID
    Feb. 6, 2014 11:02 a.m.

    The US has liberated people of other nations from murdering tyrannical dictators all over the world for decades, then left and allowed the liberated people to govern themselves; Japan, most of Europe (twice in one century) the Philippines, S. Korea, among others. More recently Iraq and Afghanistan. What each country does with the liberation is up to them, not us! What ever you think about the futility of doing that, try to imagine a world where we didn't intervene! Hail Hitler!

  • mohokat Ogden, UT
    Feb. 6, 2014 11:03 a.m.

    @CHS 85

    Thanks for your service. I was in during Nam but was in Europe. I checked with several of my buddies who were in Nam and guess what? They don't remember seeing you there.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Feb. 6, 2014 11:04 a.m.

    Ogden, UT
    As usual look no further than the present occupant of the White House.

    8:07 a.m. Feb. 6, 2014


    That "present occupant of the White House" mopped up and closed that entire chapter in U.S. history during Operation Neptune Spear for the price of an accidental loss of a U.S. helicopter and 15 minutes of a Navy Seal Team 6 with NO U.S. causalties.

    (1) H-60 Blackhawk = $5.9 Million
    (12) Navy Seals @ $25/hour = $75

    Everything else has been Bush/Cheney.

    FYI -- Mission Accomplished [May 02, 2011 in Abbottabad, PAKISTAN]

  • CHS 85 Sandy, UT
    Feb. 6, 2014 11:14 a.m.


    "I checked with several of my buddies who were in Nam and guess what? They don't remember seeing you there."

    Well, since I was born the year combat operations started in Vietnam, it wasn't feasible.

    My point was that the people who were/are all about "supporting the troops" are good at waving flags, but really bad at picking up a rifle and doing their part. If most of the flag-wavers saw what I saw, they'd think twice before rushing the country into war. You want to actually support he troops? Don't send them to fight in meaningless conflicts. The last time I checked (and I've been retired now for six years), is that it is the Department of Defense, not the Department of Nation Building.

  • JimInSLC Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 6, 2014 11:21 a.m.

    Whether the Afghanistan War is a success or failure is a matter of perspective.

    Certainly to the American taxpayer who is now expected to pay the financial costs of the war; And the men and women in the US military and innocent Afghan civilians, and their families, who paid the greatest costs, the war is likely viewed as a failure.

    On the other Hand, Before the war opium production in Afghanistan was almost entirely eliminated under Taliban rule. Now Afghanistan produces almost 75% of the world's heroin supply, thanks in part to US troops ordered to protect the fields. I guess "The War on Terror" supercedes "The War on Drugs".

    So who are some of the winners in Afghanistan. Military Industrial Corporations and contractors such as Halliburton and Blackwater that have seen record profits. Drug Lords and the Western Banks that launder their money have seen good times. The CIA, for which heroin has been a cash crop for years are probably not complaining.

    The Chinese are doing very well buying up resources in Afghanistan having established lithium mining operations there.

    failure or success? It's all a matter of perspective.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Feb. 6, 2014 11:26 a.m.

    I'm disappointed more people didn't see this outcome before we ventured down this road. Iraq was a factious dystopia of religious groups that hate one another held together by a strongman, and we took the strongman away. And look at the history of Afghanistan. The british experience. The russian experience. It was bound to be a mess. And then, for some reason we decided we needed to fight terrorism as if terrorism was using second world war tactics, and that they had uniforms and flags and armies. Who could have predicted that wouldn't work?

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 6, 2014 11:39 a.m.

    It seems to me that everything we know comes from biased media. Studies and polls probably only tell us how well they are at convincing us of their propaganda.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 6, 2014 11:45 a.m.

    That was pretty obvious in Afghanistan by mid-2002 and in Iraq before we even started it. As for anyone blaming Obama, I'd like to know what you think we should have done instead.

  • mohokat Ogden, UT
    Feb. 6, 2014 2:03 p.m.

    @CHS 85

    I agree with your last paragraph. The right analogy.

    @ LDS Liberal

    Good score card. Now give us one on Bengazi. Brack was great being the situation room and getting in the photo on the Bin Laden operation but he was AWOL on Bengazi. We still don't know his whereabouts. then lied through his teeth about the video.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 6, 2014 2:22 p.m.

    At least this poll doesn't have the partisan divide. That's refreshing. Maybe it's because BOTH sides have had a try and failed. Until Obama got his try and also failed... I think we would have seen more partisan differences.


    LDS Liberal,
    How much of America's oil actually comes from Iraq and Afghanistan? It's not much.

    I think blame it on $5.00/gallon gas is disingenuous and a sign of a person who lives in a reality defined by partisan talking points.


    And if it's just about $5.00 gas... why has Obama kept our troops in there? Is he also owned by Bush's evil Big-Oil buddies?


    Our goal was NOT to convert them to Christianity. If you think back... the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 were trained in Afghanistan and supported by the Taliban which controlled the government. To deter future attacks... a response (and regime change) was our goal.

    Iraq is more complicated. I know you don't believe this, but I believe that the main reason for America wanting regime change there was... Saddam Hussein was a DE-stabilising force in the middle-east, he encouraged and funded international terrorism.

  • jsf Centerville, UT
    Feb. 6, 2014 2:59 p.m.

    The administration has committed to maintain a non-combat presence in Afghanistan with 7,000 to 15,000 remaining troops, additional financial aid and continuing support for an indeterminate length of time. Can you say Vietnam. The big hang up, Afghanistan wants to be able to prosecute US troops in their courts, in the event civilians die in crossfire.

    As for Iraq, we will be back.

    The result our troops will be getting shot at for years to come in these countries.

    And the new troop commitments, Mali, Sudan, -----, the list keeps expanding.

  • LDS Tree-Hugger Farmington, UT
    Feb. 6, 2014 3:11 p.m.

    I can't keep up with the flip-flopping logic.

    If a poll says most Utahns do not support Gay marriage, the poll is right.

    If a poll says most Americans think Afghanistan and Iraq were failures,
    that Global Warming is real,
    that Utah's air is aweful,
    that Barack Obama is winning and has won, again,
    the poll is wrong.

    The only conclusion I'm beginning to see is that Conservative see the entire world and reality through a very small myopic, knot-hole from their own little polluted bubble.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    Feb. 6, 2014 4:12 p.m.

    Related to our situation with Iraq, I wonder how many people remember the name "Hans Blix"?

    I remember in the run-up to our invasion of Iraq that Hans Blix was fairly widely castigated as being a dupe of Saddam. Of course, after we failed to find WMD, Blix was essentially exonerated, but by then we were waist deep in a conflict far beyond the scope anyone imagined.

  • FreedomFighter41 Provo, UT
    Feb. 6, 2014 5:02 p.m.

    "9/11 demanded a serious response."


    So why did we invade Iraq?

    Why did we attempt to nation build Afghanistan?

    Why did we take our focus off the guy who actually planned and organized the 9/11 attacks?

    Thanks goodness we have Obama. Had we maintained repub control we'd be off invading another middle-eastern country rather than actually capturing the mastermind behind 9/11.

    Sorry repubs, you had your shot. You had 8 years to find and get him. You failed. Time to move on

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Feb. 6, 2014 7:42 p.m.

    Invading Iraq because of 9/11 would be like invading Mexico because of Pearl Harbor.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    Feb. 7, 2014 7:47 a.m.

    @2 bits
    Cottonwood Heights, UT

    LDS Liberal,
    How much of America's oil actually comes from Iraq and Afghanistan? It's not much.

    I think blame it on $5.00/gallon gas is disingenuous and a sign of a person who lives in a reality defined by partisan talking points.


    FYI --
    Oil is sold on the GLOBAL market,
    the point of origin is irrelevant to global price.

    Also why the KeyStone Pipeline cutting through America will not benefit Americans.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Feb. 7, 2014 8:29 a.m.

    2bits, "I believe that the main reason for America wanting regime change there was... Saddam Hussein was a DE-stabilising force in the middle-east,"

    As a harsh critic of the Iraq war, and Obama's Afghanistan policy I will give you the above statement somewhat.

    I think the neo-cons did believe the above, but that view was embedded in a very naïve and distorted, and what proved to be, dangerous view of the middle east. What scares me is that view is still around. Lindsay Graham, and John McCain are still talking about good guys and bad guys in the middle east relative to democracy and American interests.

    The President's hesitancy towards all of these groups is far more realistic. Fact is they don't give a hoot about American interests. Your friend today is your enemy tomorrow.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 7, 2014 9:41 a.m.

    There were a multitude of reasons and rationalizations for taking military action in Iraq.

    In my mind #1 was that he was involved in funding and encouraging terrorist attacks (not 9/11). He offered a $50,000 reward for anyone who would carry out suicide attacks against Americans or Jews. $50,000 is a lifetime income in those countries.

    #2 was his nuclear weapons program. There was already 100% certainty that he had and used chemical weapons (from the attack on the Kurds in the Iran/Iraq war). You can't use them if you don't have them.

    The international community also had concerns about Iraq's nuclear weapons program (Hussein and his military leaders admitted they had one). The UN had inspectors in Iraq monitoring their progress. When Hussein kicked UN inspectors out... that raised the threat level (crossed the red line).

    He didn't respond to the ultimatum to let inspectors back in in time.... we had not option but to do something. He provoked a standoff. If we did nothing... it would prove the US was a paper-tiger (something he fully believed and wanted to prove to the rest of the middle-east).

    There were lots of reasons (not just one).

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Feb. 7, 2014 10:10 a.m.

    2 bits
    Cottonwood Heights, UT

    All proven wrong.
    Why do you continue to defend a lie?

    Let me guess,
    You've never served in the military.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 7, 2014 10:27 a.m.

    The Republican Party took us into Iraq under false pretenses and they never have been held accountable, and I suppose never will. Our political system doesn't work.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 7, 2014 10:43 a.m.

    Open Minded Mormon,

    Not true. What of the 3 things I mentioned can you "prove wrong"?

    He did offer rewards to suicide bombers (not just in Iraq). That is proven and well documented.

    He did have chemical weapons (He use them on the Kurds). That is also proven and well documented.

    Nuclear Weapons program. Also 100% proven (by the UN Inspectors). We knew they had the program, they admitted it, and even allowed UN Nuclear inspectors in to monitor it's progress (at first).

    What of these was proven false??


    You're always trying to make assumptions (based on your stereotypes). Yes I did serve in the military. And so did my father. And his father. And my brothers.


    Some of the evidence used in the UN presentation turned out be bogus.... but a lot of it didn't. One spoiled apple doesn't mean they all are bad. Just because one piece of evidence turned out to be bad... doesn't mean every rational presented was bad.

    You have such a biased view of this... I really don't trust your opinion on it to be objective.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Feb. 7, 2014 11:04 a.m.

    2bits, here's the reality; "In its comprehensive 30 September 2004 report (also known as the Duelfer Report), the Iraq Survey Group concluded that Saddam Hussein had ended Iraq's nuclear weapons program following the first Gulf War in 1991, and had not directed a coordinated effort to restart the program thereafter. [13] Surviving Iraqi nuclear facilities, which were almost entirely destroyed during the Gulf War and Operation Iraqi Freedom, are controlled by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MST). The inspectors weren't worried when they were kicked out because they knew he didn't have a program. The only evidence at all for a program was fake (some aluminum tubes)

    You forget that after the Kurdish slaughter Iraq endured 10 years of devastating sanctions. It nearly destroyed the entire nation, and we knew it. Thus the weak response when we attacked.

    Of all your points the only left is the offer to suicide bombers, hardly a reason to lose 5,000 lives and trillions of dollars.

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    Feb. 7, 2014 12:16 p.m.

    Iraq was all about oil. It just wasn't about oil the way most people think. It wasn't to go to Iraq, dig the oil up and ship it back to the USA. It was because Sadaam wanted to move the oil trading currency away from the US Dollar. If it was all about stopping strongmen we should have invaded 75% of the countries in Africa and S America and pretty much all of the Middle East. It was all about Sadaam trying to convince OPEC, China and other large oil producers to stop using the dollar as their trading currency.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 7, 2014 1:53 p.m.

    Have you read the Interim Progress Report from the ISG?

    This from the ISG (Iraq Survey Group) (AKA "The Duelfer Report").
    (ref wikipedia):

    "After six months searching for WMD, the ISG issued an Interim Progress Report on 3 October 2003. The team said it HAD found evidence of "WMD-related program activities" but no actual chemical, biological or nuclear weapons".

    Note: They said they "HAD found evidence of WMD-related program activities".


    Quote 2:

    "The October 2003 report also includes discoveries of non-WMD programs banned by the UN and concealed during the International Atomic Energy Agency and UNMOVIC inspections that began in 2002".

    So it sounds like the ISG was not as convinced as you are that nothing prohibited by the UN Sanctions was going on in Iraq.

    IF the UN thought nothing was going on... WHY did they approve resolution 1441? (final opportunity to comply with it's disarmament obligations and stating Iraq was in material breach of the ceasefire terms of resolution 687)?

    Read the long list of UN Security Council resolutions concerning Iraq if you think they were innocent!


    I thought I heard the twilight-zone theme when reading your conspiracy theory.

  • happy2bhere clearfield, UT
    Feb. 7, 2014 5:01 p.m.

    2 bits

    You must have misunderstood my post. I wasn't talking about converting them to Christianity. I was merely pointing out that in those countries the political and religious are equal. So when we try to change their politics, we also are interfering with their religion. Islam and democracy are like water and oil. They don't mix very well.

  • Iron Rod Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 7, 2014 10:11 p.m.

    In retrospect did our political leaders and our media leaders exercise due diligence with the "march to war with Iraq"?