Wars in Iraq, Afghanistan not worth fighting, majority of veterans say

Majority of U.S. veterans say wars in Iraq, Afghanistan weren't worth fighting.
Photo credit Wathiq Khuzaie /Getty Images
By Ben Krimmel

Nearly two decades after the beginning of the war in Afghanistan and the American-led invasion of Iraq, a majority of U.S. military veterans say those wars were not worth fighting, according to a recent survey of veterans.

The Pew Research Center survey of veterans found 64 percent of vets say the wars were not worth fighting considering the costs versus the benefits to the United States. Among veterans, 64 percent say the War in Iraq was not worth fighting, which nearly mirrors the general public's views of the war (62 percent). And both veterans (58 percent) and the public (59 percent) now say the war in Afghanistan was not worth fighting. 

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The survey found vets who served in either Iraq or Afghanistan are no more supportive of those engagements now than veterans who did not serve in those wars. (Views on the wars did not differ based on rank or combat experience.)

There was a difference among veterans when it came to party identification with Republican and Republican-leaning vets more likely to say the wars were worth fighting, but a majority of both groups said the war was not worth fighting. For the War in Iraq, 45 percent of Republican veterans said it was worth fighting compared to 15 percent of Democratic veterans. The gap narrowed when it came to Afghanistan with 46 percent of Republican veterans saying it was worth fighting vs. 26 percent of Democratic veterans. 

MORE: Over 50 percent of vets show strong support for President Trump

The survey found veterans were more negative than positive about the current campaign in Syria but more supportive than the general public. The action in Syria had just 42 percent of support among veterans, compared to 36 percent of the public. 

The survey, published on July 10,  covered 1,284 U.S. military veterans was conducted between May 14 - June 3, 2019

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