December 21st, 2011
12:25 PM ET

More than half of Americans think Iraq war ended in stalemate

By the CNN Political Unit

Most Americans agree with the decision to end the war in Iraq, according to a CNN/ORC International poll released Wednesday. Almost eight in ten said they support removal of combat troops from that country by the end of this year.

And although 96% are proud of U.S. troops who served in Iraq, just one in three consider the war a victory and more than half call it a stalemate.

President Obama announced the full withdrawal of troops from Iraq by the year's end in October. Now, two-thirds say they oppose the war and more think the U.S. made a mistake sending troops to Iraq in the first place 53% to 46% over those who do not think it was a mistake.

Americans are similarly divided over whether they agree with then-Sen. Barack Obama's opinion that it was a "dumb" decision to send troops to Iraq in 2003 – 51% say it was dumb and 45% say it was smart.

More than half think the Bush administration deliberately misled the American public about whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, but about half say U.S. involvement in the war has had a positive effect on life in Iraq.

When it comes to the U.S., half the nation believes the Iraq war had a negative effect on life here and seven out of 10 say the money spent on the war is one reason for the economic problems facing the country today.

"After the Vietnam war, commentators noted a wariness among the U.S. public to support the use of military force, dubbing it the 'Vietnam syndrome,'" said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.  "Roughly half the public believed that war was an outdated way of settling international conflicts even into the 1980s, but only 32% of Americans feel that way today, with 66% saying that war is sometimes necessary – a minority view after Vietnam.  At the same time, seven in ten believe that U.S. military force should only be used as a last resort, and that may be the more lasting impact on public opinion of the war in Iraq."

Almost four in ten American say the U.S. only accomplished some of its goals in Iraq, but almost eight in ten say we could not achieve any more no matter how long troops remained in that country.

– Rebecca Stewart contributed to this report.


Filed under: Iraq • Military • Obama • Politics
soundoff (13 Responses)
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    May 4, 2012 at 4:33 am | Reply
  2. Kelly

    All the US involvement did in Iraq was postpone the eventual death struggle between Shites, Sunnis and Kurds by about 8 years. This has absolutely nothing to do with Israeli Zionism (which is pure misdirection), but rival factions of a false religion, and cultural divides caused by the creation of the Iraq nation.

    December 25, 2011 at 7:50 am | Reply
  3. wavejump1100

    the iraq war was a clear, quick military victory. what was not so quick or clear however was running the new government. the USA was and is capable of killing most of the iraqi population, taking their oil and calling the place new texas. this was however not our goal. nor should it have been. do not call the iraq war a failure because of our noble intentions. its much easier to kill than it is to govern.

    December 21, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Reply
    • wavejump1100

      that being said i think the war was wrong. the american people were lied to. and it was a colossal waste of life and money. my only point is that militarily we devastated the enemy in a few weeks.

      December 21, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Reply
  4. str8vision

    How can you win a war that's cause was based on known lies? We were not able to clear out the WMD's or secure the yellow cake uranium stockpiles because there was never any to start with. We couldn't cut off Iraq's direct links to OBL and terrorist groups responsible for 9/11 because those links never existed in the first place. What's to win? We did manage to arrange Saddam's death but at a cost of 4500 of America's finest and one or two hundred thousand Iraqi civilians we dismiss as collateral damage. We also managed to spend trillions of dollars we didn't actually have but eagerly mortgaged our children's future in order to borrow it. America's military contractors profited heavily as did their shareholders. They were the only true "Winners" I can see. Many people stepped forward and tried to tell us that our government was lying but we were blinded by our patriotism and cheered as our government attacked their credibility, integrity and patriotism. Blind patriotism is a dangerous thing. It enabled and empowered Hitler's reign of death long after it should have stopped. Tragic how easy it is to manipulate and lead otherwise good hearted people down dark and crooked paths. After thousands of years of civilization look how far mankind has come. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and various other members of Bush's administration should be tried in an international court for crimes against humanity and violation of international laws.

    December 21, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Reply
    • A.P.

      I couldnt have said it better.

      December 21, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Reply
  5. Sperling

    Just another war formented by A.I.P.A.C to put a wedge between Iran and Israel at a trmendous cost to our troops and finance

    December 21, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Reply
    • A.P.

      Wow, another sound explanation. Whats going on here today?

      December 21, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Reply
  6. Furthermore

    It has not ended. Nothing 'ends'. If it did, we would not be here now.

    December 21, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Reply
  7. Cassandra Chu

    ... and the other half think we lost... lost a tremendous amount of money, time, energy, blood... all because of israli zionists

    December 21, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Reply
    • A.P.

      I cant believe it, one after another. I guess Americans are waking up.

      December 21, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Reply

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