With our nation celebrating Memorial Day, the holiday that honors brave Americans who died while serving their country on active duty, some — but far short of a majority — of our fellow citizens supposedly think that it was a mistake to send troops to fight in World War II, a massive military action that saved the world from a genocidal dictatorship.
According to an Economist/YouGov poll, however, many more Americans think that U.S. interventions in Vietnam and Iraq constituted a huge blunder.
With regard to World War II, survey data indicated 14 percent of the respondents concluded that boots on the ground was a mistake and 18 percent were unsure.
In contrast to that 32 percent, more than two-thirds of those in the survey, however, believe it was anything but a mistake to fight back against and defeat the Axis powers.
The survey findings were based on interviews with 1,500 U.S. adults from a representative sample of demographic groups conducted earlier this month.
Do Americans believe the US made a mistake sending troops to fight in…
World War I: 17% yes / 62% no
World War II: 14% / 68%
Korea: 26% / 44%
Vietnam: 48% / 28%
Desert Shield/Desert Storm: 30% / 45%
Afghanistan: 36% / 39%
Iraq: 43% / 33%https://t.co/SY22Ra9xn7 pic.twitter.com/BK9LSRJp7D
— YouGov America (@YouGovAmerica) May 28, 2021
Almost half of the respondents concluded that sending soldiers to Vietnam was an error, with 43 percent concluding the same about the Iraq conflict, which former President Trump has repeatedly described as a disaster in the context of American soldiers killed or maimed as well as Iraqis who perished, along with the billions of taxpayer dollars spent there.
Overthrowing Saddam Hussein arguably substantially increased the influence of Iran in the region, which the federal government has designated a state sponsor of terrorism. According to some experts, it also created a power vacuum that may have led to the rise of ISIS.
The poll data suggests that America is about evenly divided on whether a troop deployment to Afghanistan was worthwhile. Approximately one-fourth of the entire sample expressed no opinion on wars from Korea forward, which also includes the Gulf War (Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm), which 30 percent disagreed with in terms of troop deployment.
President Joe Biden has promised to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, something Trump, a foe of endless wars, had already committed to doing. According to an earlier YouGov survey, 55 percent support Biden’s vow to bring home the troops from America’s longest war.
“Veterans are just as likely as other Americans to regard each of these wars as a mistake, while those who know someone who died while serving in the military (31% of all adults, and 58% of veterans and 58% of those who currently live in military households) are slightly more likely to look at all of these American wars as mistakes,” YouGov explained.
About sixty percent of Americans over age 65 — the cohort that was of draft age at the time — said that Vietnam was a mistake in the survey that has a stated margin of error of about three percent.
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