Most see Iraq war as mistake, failure

Growing numbers of people think the U.S. is making progress in Iraq, but most remain convinced the invasion was a mistake and the war will be judged a failure, an Associated Press-Ipsos poll showed Monday.

With U.S. and Iraqi casualties dropping steadily in recent months amid other signs of progress, 50 percent said this year’s troop increase has not helped stabilize the country and 47 percent said it has. The outlook was noticeably more positive than in September, when 58 percent said the beefed-up forces had not calmed things and 36 percent said they had.

By 52 percent to 41 percent, people also think the U.S. is making progress in Iraq. A 56 percent to 39 percent majority said the U.S. was losing ground when the AP-Ipsos poll last asked the question, in September 2006.

In another sign of a gradually more positive view — though still a minority opinion — 42 percent said they think history will judge the war to be a success. In September, 34 percent said it would be considered successful.

Fifty-eight percent said the U.S. made a mistake invading Iraq in 2003, compared with 38 percent who said the decision was right. Those figures have barely moved all year.

In each case, Republicans were far more positive about the war’s progress and prospects than Democrats and independents.

The poll involved telephone interviews with 1,009 adults conducted from Dec. 3-5. It had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.


  1. JoyfulC

    Okay, what does this mean? Would Americans feel differently if the war had been “won” easily? Is this more about the cost and hassle than the moral question?

    It seems to me that quite a few more Americans supported the war in the beginning — when they thought that American might was going to kick ass.

    The problem with American politicians is that they reflect the values of the American people. They’re Americans too and we voted for them — so why in the hell do we keep expecting them to be more noble, more moral, more intelligent and less corruptable than the average American? Our problem isn’t our government — it’s our culture.

  2. Steve Horn

    Let me start by saying that, from the day the saber rattling began in the beltway, that I felt an invasion of Iraq, or any other nation for that matter, was going to be a mistake. A long term success for an invading army is a very rare thing indeed. Supply chains, finances, public support and gaining the acceptance of the invaded peoples are difficult at best – the Romans couldn’t do it, the Germans couldn’t do it and the impearlistic European nations couldn’t sustain their colonial influence – for the most part all they left in the wake of their invasions was devistation and (in the case of most post-colonial African nations, a relative political vacuum that continues to keep the citizens of those nations from living in peace and prosperity).

    However, we did “win” the war, if you apply the narrow definition of victory as defeating the Iraqi military and replacing the government with a “democracy”. What we failed to do was, from before the invasion, understand the psychological and sociological patterns common to the people living in the region, secure the borders and plan for the post-war era.

    Think about it – during WW2 the Germans “won” the war in most of Europe – they had defeated the national armies of every nation they invaded, they had replaced the governments and totally dominated the invaded nations. It was the American and British “insurgency”, backed by internal factions (French resistance, for example) that drove the German military back to their homeland.

    In an odd way, we (the invaders) are being taught a harsh lesson by the Baathists (who, by the way, supported the Nazi’s during WW2).

    What comes around goes around



  3. JoyfulC

    I fully agree re: the differences between achieving military victories and winning the war. No matter how valiantly our troops fight, if we’re in a war for the wrong reasons or without a realistic goal and a plan for acheiving it, then no war can truly be won.

    But what I find so frustrating about the polls these days is that they don’t really reflect the understanding that this war was wrong from the start, both immoral and unwinnable, but rather the weariness on the part of Americans with it in terms of treasure, esteem and American lives. I have to wonder, if things would have gone differently in Iraq — or if they start going differently in the future — will the majority of Americans change their minds again?

    As it is now, Americans just come off looking whiny — “well gee whiz! we just wanted to mow down another culture, dominate them and let them become a bunch of American wannabes (with no real chance of ever being our equals, of course!). No one told us it wasn’t a sure thing and we were going to have to pay through the nose for it, and we wouldn’t even walk away with bragging rights. No fair!!”

    True, the American people were lied to — but only by some, not all. At the outset of this terrible thing, there were voices of reason. The American public chose what they wanted to believe – and now they (we as a whole!) are complicit. It doesn’t wash to portray ourselves, as a whole, as victims now. We are as much guilty perpetrators as the liars we chose to believe.

  4. Wayne K Dolik

    The fact is 100% of Americans know this war is wrecking us financially. The cost of this odyssey is what should be the focus of debate. There is strong evidence that we plundered this nation, wrecked its infrastructure, and we tried tried to steal its oil profits only to benefit people who already possess the world’s wealth.

    History will judge this war as the plunder of two Nations wealth, their’s and ours. Was it worth that?

  5. CheckerboardStrangler

    Another plethora of plumped primes from pompous pollsters in powerful posts.
    Polls do not and cannot grasp anything beyond simple zero-sum either-or choices, which makes them ideal tools for keeping Americans in the dark.
    The simple notion is that YES, most Americans DO agree we’re making progress in Iraq, but that we should never have GONE to the goddam place to begin with.
    It’s like crashing your car into a store window during a rainstorm, calling a glazier, installing a new window and then saying “look at how nice that window is shaping up!”.
    Yeah of course…the OLD window wasn’t all that bad either because the old window kept the rain out, too!

    Polls…f**** em.

  6. ekaton

    The war was illegal from the beginning. The U.S. attacked a country that had not attacked the United States. The generals and admirals who took the military to war followed illegal orders. Therefore, every order followed by the military, from the top of the chain of command on down have been illegal orders. Every time an order has been followed, the “troop” following that order, whether a Lieutenant General or the lowliest pfc, had executed an illegal order.

    This is why I do not support the troops.

    “They are just following orders” does not cut it. It did not cut it at Nuremburg and it does not cut it now. An argument can be made that the first troops in didn’t know any better. Maybe so. But the U.S. has been in Iraq over 4 1/2 years. I cannot support anyone who enlists today and follows illegal orders by going to Iraq. They should know better by now. The fact that apparently they do not is the fault of their parents, educators, and news media. However, ignorance is not a defense for the accused who has broken a law.

    It is time to stop the kneejerk “Support the Troops” propoganda.

    Flame on, I’m wearing my asbestos suit.

    — Kent Shaw

  7. SEAL

    Kent: Congress gave Bush the power to use any force necessary. Therefore, the military did nothing illegal. The president, as commander in chief, had every legal right to order the military into Iraq and the military was duty bound to obey. Their use had been authorized by congress.

    All Bush had to do was convince congress we should invade and this he did – with lies. This makes Bush [] and every member of congress who voted to allow the use of military force – war criminals. Congress members cannot plead that they were mislead, they have a responsibility to investigate on their own.

    Don’t blame the military for this fiasco or call them war criminals because they are not. They followed legal orders and still do until Congress resinds the power they gave Bush to use them.

  8. ekaton

    “This makes Bush [] and every member of congress who voted to allow the use of military force – war criminals. Congress members cannot plead that they were mislead, they have a responsibility to investigate on their own.”

    I couldn’t agree more.

    However, the Constitution stipulates that only Congress can declare war. They did not. Ugly prededents were set with Korea and Vietnam. The Constitution does not say that Congress can give Bush the power to use any force necessary.

    Calling someone a war criminal is a serious allegation and something I don’t take lightly, but its time to call a spade a spade. I fully understand that once an enlistee is in the service his life is no longer his own, and that he is required to obey orders without question, and would certainly bring down a lot of hurt on himself if he refused to shoot unarmed civilians should he be ordered to do so, for example. Nevertheless, that would be an illegal order and theoretically at least that soldier would be required to disobey that order.

    I understand your background and I know that you have tremendous respect and feeling for your brothers in arms. Thank you for trying to understand. Frankly, I expected that your reply, if there was one, would be rather vehement and of course it was not, but was reasoned and thoughtful.

    — Kent Shaw

  9. Carl Nemo

    Hi SEAL…

    Colin Powell knew this war was being intiated on cooked intelligence. He also knew there were no WMD’s, and there was no yellowcake uranium being shipped from Niger to Iraq, but he continued to support Bushco’s plan to invade Iraq. Publicly he seemed to waver, but in the final analysis he continued to be a team player.

    Powell, a former four star general, head of he Joint Chiefs and having been involved with Gulf War I under H.W. Bush knew that George W. Bush’s invasion was to secure Iraq’s oil reserves and to establish bases in the region with the WMD story engineered for public consumption.

    He had the power to shut this invasion down from the getgo by simply coming forward publicly and stating that the intelligence product was being cooked by Wolfowitz-Feith-Cheney and the entire buildup for the invasion was pure b.s., then resign as Secretary of State. I personally think he has a great feeling of self shame for what he did, knowing full well that the incredible loss of life could have been prevented, but he failed to live up to his oath to protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies both foreign and “domestic”. When a man of this caliber witnesses “domestic” politicans engaging in activities that put this nation at risk he has an obligation and duty to do what’s best for “we the people” and not the current batch of politicians sitting in the Whitehouse. I can understand men of lesser caliber doing so, but not Colin Powell.

    Colin had already retired as a four star general and would no doubt receive some additional percs for his time as Secretary of State. Regardless he’s set for life with book releases, speaking engagements etc. So he had no financial reason to support Bush/Cheney and their criminal plan to invade a sovereign nation based on cooked intelligence. They used him and he allowed them to do so.

    So this is an example of a former military man of renoun; ie., a four star general, then Secretary of State “simply following orders”;ie., selling a lie, when he had the power to shut these criminal mattoids down.

    There’s a long line of high level officers that could have resigned, one star less concerning their pension payouts, but they would have stood up to the plate and had done what’s both right and necessary.

    Congress is composed of a bunch of kneejerk sheep and are driven by public opinion. If my aforementioned scenario had become public, rest assured they would not have authorized Bush to invade Iraq…!

    So in support of Kent’s commentary I can say that everyone at highest levels who knew the war was launched based on cooked intelligence from the getgo is a war criminal and needs to be brought to justice, but it’s not going to happen. Fat-cat government pensions are far more important than patriotism…no?!

    Carl Nemo **==

  10. ekaton

    “There’s a long line of high level officers that could have resigned, one star less concerning their pension payouts, but they would have stood up to the plate and had done what’s both right and necessary.”

    I believe that the reason we have not attacked Iran already is due to the proper refusals by generals and admirals.

    — Kent Shaw

  11. SEAL

    Polls are bullshit and can be designed to elicit any thing you want. However, there is one disturbing percentile that continues to come up essentially the same no matter who runs the poll or how the questions are asked. It’s that the one-third who say we should have invaded Iraq, it was the right thing to do, and we should stay until “the job is done.” So far no pollster has aked what that “job” is.

    That means that no matter the present conditions, regardless of exposures that Bush [] lied to terrorize congress and the people with phony WMD to get premssion to invade, and the reality that Iraq never once threatened the US in any way, a full one-third of Americans believe we did the right thing, believe in Bush, and should continue to finish the job. I can only assume the job will be finished when Iraqis are standing in line at McDonalds and there’s a Baptist church in every town.

    To me, this One-third number is scary. To think there are that many brainwashed or braindead or just totally stupid people in my nation scares the hell out of me. Zombies – blind followers of a concept of righteous justification and fueled by religious demogouges driven only by a lust for money and power.

    It should scare the hell out of everyone in America with a brain that there are that many people right here in the home land that can be mobilized and directed to action or support simply by telling them it is the righteous thing we do. That, of course, justifies the means.

    I submit that this group of Americans should be classified as “the enemy” and a plan should be created to combat them whenever they launch themselves on one of the their righteous campaigns. We had no plan during the last two presidential elections and look at the results.

  12. Carl Nemo

    Thanks SEAL for bringing up the hardcore “righteous third” that somehow believe that we are on the right path in Iraq. I’ve also noticed many if not most of them drive gas-guzzling SUV’s, and when you see them at stoplights their packing a BigMac or whatever in their faces, their hoggish jowls a chomp’n! If their upper arm is hanging out the window of the SUV or over-sized truck they look like 10 pound, fatty market hams. As they pull away you also notice they have Bush/Cheney 04 bumper stickers. In addition they also sport the duty support our troops stick-on ribbons;ie., either yellow, red,white & blue etc. Yup these are true blue, hardcore “mericun patruts”…no?! 😐

    Carl Nemo **==
    p.s. Many of these aforementioned folks also have the duty chrome fish, signifying they be christians too?! They’ve surely got all their bases covered. :))