Small Wars Journal

Polls Say Many Vets Don’t Believe in the Iraq and Afghanistan Mission. But Their Real Feelings are More Complex.

Polls Say Many Vets Don’t Believe in the Iraq and Afghanistan Mission. But Their Real Feelings are More Complex. By Josh Jabin - Military Times

A recent poll from Pew Research Center revealed that the majority of veterans feel the operations in Iraq (64 percent) and Afghanistan (58 percent), when weighed against the overall costs and benefits to the United States, were “not worth fighting.” As a U.S. Marine who joined the armed forces just before 9/11 and has served for 18 years (including a year in Iraq), I understand the cost that our military has paid.

Still, the thoughts and feelings that most veterans have about the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are much more complex than a simple “yes” or “no” response to a survey question. And to oversimplify those thoughts misrepresents the opinions of the veteran community, and may lead the American public to draw the wrong conclusion.

First, it’s important to consider what exactly would make a war where we’ve lost over 6,700 brave men and women “worth fighting.” Are Americans living substantially better lives than they were back in 2001 when American forces first engaged in Afghanistan? If so, are those improvements a result of the war?...

Read on.