Twenty years after the invasion, public opinion on the war has reversed and most believe it made the United States less secure
Two decades after the US invaded Iraq, most Americans realize the war was a mistake, says Axios/Ipsos survey released this week. While two-thirds of Americans approved of military action in 2003, some 61% now believe it was the wrong decision.
When the US ground invasion of Iraq began on March 20, 2003, only 26% of respondents to a Pew poll opposed military action to overthrow the government of Saddam Hussein.
Support was heavily skewed by political affiliation, with 83% of Republicans supporting the invasion compared to 52% of Democrats. This divide has persisted two decades later, with a much smaller majority (58%) of Republicans still insisting that the United States was right to invade. Only 26% of Democrats still think it was a good idea.
Majority of Americans – 67% – don’t believe war in Iraq has made US safer, Ipsos says surveyconducted last week among 1,018 Americans over the age of 18.
However, about three-quarters of Americans said they want the United States to stay “world leader,” and some 54% believe that all of Washington focus on national defense and homeland security over the past two decades have made the United States more secure.
Much of the initial support for the war was based on false statements by President George W. Bush’s administration and media, which reprinted fanciful statements about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. While the Bush cabinet never explicitly told Americans that Hussein played a role in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, 57% of respondents to a 2003 Pew poll shared that belief anyway. Some 44% of respondents still do not know who was LAW of war: those who “totally” supported it, opposed it from the start, or those who ended up changing their minds.
Iraq today is a far cry from the democratic paradise promised to its people when Bush sadly declared “Mission accomplished” in 2003. The invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq eventually resulted in the deaths of at least 210,000 civilians, according to the Iraq Body Count project.
Plunged into instability, the country became a breeding ground for jihadism, and much of northern Iraq fell under the control of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorists after the partial withdrawal of the United States in 2011. Some 2,500 American soldiers have been stationed for three years. after the Iraqi government order that they leave. According to 2019 Pentagon data, total US military casualties during the entire Iraq War amounted to 4,487.
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