Now that U.S. troops have transferred security responsibilities in Iraq over to local forces, Americans can assess the damage from a less involved perspective.
A BBC World News America/Harris Poll asked Americans if they believe that Iraq is better off now than before the U.S. invasion, and whether the U.S. is safer because of the war.
Sixty-two per cent of men said Iraq is now safer, while 51 per cent of women believe the same. Interestingly, 49 per cent of those polled say the war was worth fighting for. The Iraq war. Worth it. Pretty astonishing.
Only 39 per cent say the war made America safer though, 10 per cent less than the number of those who think it was worth it.
So if we are to draw anything from this poll, it is that the majority of those polled don’t think the war was worth it and don’t think it made the country safer. The numbers are close on whether it was worth it, so the the people polled are obviously divided.
A lot of this division likely has to do with confusion. If you ask people what the war was for, what it was about, why we fought it, you’d likely get different answers from different people. In past wars, like Vietnam, the answer was definitive (even if those asked thought the war was ill-advised), and people likely had variations of the same answer.
The Iraq war, is more abstract, there is no definition to it. To keep America safe, yes, to control the spread of Islamic extremists, yes. But how? Iraq did not attack the U.S. and the war of haste there, after the dust settled post-9/11, has further alienated the U.S. from the very people it needed to have on its side in order to protect itself.
Dropping bombs on civilian neighbourhoods and shooting down civilians from helicopters will not make the U.S. safer. And according to the majority of those polled, it hasn’t.