A War Worth Fighting

Polls show that the public thinks the war in Iraq was a mistake, but that we should be taking stronger action in Afghanistan.

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Evidence continues to accumulate that the public has a far different view on Afghanistan than on Iraq. The public thinks the war in Iraq was a mistake and wishes to see our troops withdrawn. Yet the public does not think the war in Afghanistan was a mistake; in fact, they want to see stronger action taken. Consider these data from a late July Gallup/USA Today poll.

When asked whether the United States made a mistake sending troops to Afghanistan, the public overwhelmingly (68-28) says we didn’t.


When asked whether the United States should send additional troops to Afghanistan to fight Al Qaeda and the Taliban, the public overwhelmingly (59-38) says we should.


The public makes its priorities on Afghanistan clear relative to Iraq by strongly endorsing (57-36) the idea that troops should be moved from Iraq to Afghanistan to further the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban.


These findings indicate that the public doesn’t want to give up the fight against terrorism, but it does want to see that fight conducted efficiently and effectively. That’s a point of view the Bush administration and its conservative supporters could learn a lot from.

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Ruy Teixeira

Former Senior Fellow

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