9/11 and the War on Terror: Polls Show What People Think 10 Years Later
by George Washington
As the Brooking Institution reported yesterday, Americans that the government overreacted and overspent in reaction to 9/11:
These are a summary of findings of a new poll conducted by the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) and the Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland.
Six in ten Americans believe that that the United States weakened its economy by overspending in its responses to the 9/11 attacks. In particular, respondents felt this was especially true of the U.S. mission in Iraq. Two out of three Americans perceive that over the decade since 9/11, U.S. power and influence in the world has declined. This view is highly correlated with the belief that the United States overspent in its post-9/11 response efforts – the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
At this point, a large majority (73%) wants the United States to reduce the number of troops in Afghanistan, but less than half (44%) want troops withdrawn completely.
Fifty-five percent say that the United States has spent too many resources in the Iraq war, while a plurality of 49% called the Iraq war a mistake (45% right decision). This criticism is a bit lower than other polls that asked similar questions in 2010 and found a majority ranging from 51 to 62% saying that it was not the right decision.
Support for the decision to go to war is highly correlated with beliefs held by substantial and undiminishing minorities that Iraq was providing support to al Qaeda (46%) and either had a WMD program or actual WMDs (47%). Among those with such beliefs, large majorities say the war was the right thing while among those without such beliefs large majorities have the opposite views.
A modest majority (53%) believes that the U.S. should withdraw its troops according to schedule even if the Iraqi government asks the US to stay another year.