Americans Split On Whether Afghanistan War Was A Mistake

Marking a significant shift in public opinion after more than 12 years of war, Americans are as likely to say sending troops to Afghanistan was a mistake as they are to say it was not, a Gallup survey found Wednesday.

Public opinion is split -- 49 percent think the United States made a mistake in sending troops to Afghanistan in 2001, while 48 percent do not. When the question was first asked in November 2001, 9 percent thought it was a mistake, while 89 percent did not.

Today, Democrats are more likely to see the war as a mistake than Republicans, with 59 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaners and 36 percent of Republicans or Republican-leaners saying they thought it was a mistake.


The poll is yet another sign of weariness over what has become the longest war for American troops in U.S. history. As Gallup points out, "the more than 12-year span during which less than half of Americans thought the U.S. made a mistake in entering Afghanistan has been remarkably long, relative to past U.S. interventions." In contrast, Americans turned against the Korean, Vietnam and Iraq wars far more quickly.

A CNN/ORC International poll in December found that just 17 percent of Americans support the war in Afghanistan, and 57 percent think the war was going badly.

U.S. troops are scheduled to be in Afghanistan until Dec. 31, 2014. The United States has been pressuring Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai to sign a bilateral security agreement to allow troops beyond that date, but Karzai has repeatedly refused. The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. military has revised withdrawal plans to allow the White House to wait until Karzai leaves office -- likely not before August -- to give time for his successor to sign the pact.



Afghanistan War, By The Numbers