August 17th, 2010
10:18 AM ET
11 years ago

Poll: Opposition to Iraq, Afghanistan wars reach all time high


 A new CNN poll reveals Americans' opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is at an all time high. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images/File)

(CNN) - Two-thirds of Americans favor President Obama's plan to remove combat troops from Iraq by the end of the month as opposition to the war in that country, as well as the one in Afghanistan, has climbed to new highs.

According to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey, Obama's withdrawal plan wins support not because Americans think the U.S. has achieved its goals in Iraq - only three in 10 feel that way - but because a majority believe that the U.S. will never achieve its goals in that country no matter how long troops remain there.

That's one reason why 69 percent oppose the war in Iraq - the highest amount of opposition in any CNN poll.

Meanwhile, 65 percent favor Obama's plan to remove most combat troops but keep 50,000 there for non-combat duties. Another 19 percent want the U.S. to remove all troops immediately; only 16 percent oppose Obama's plan because they would like to see U.S. troops remain in Iraq indefinitely.

Americans are also pessimistic about what will happen next in Iraq after combat troops are removed but don't feel the same way about what might occur in the U.S. Six in 10 say they are not confident in the Iraqi government's ability to handle the situation in that country. But only 28 percent say that removing U.S. troops from the country increases the chances of a terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

Unpopularity with the war in Afghanistan also reached an all-time high in CNN polling with 62 percent saying they oppose it. Moreover, confidence in the Afghan government is even lower than it is for the Iraqi government. Seven in 10 Americans are not confident that Hamid Karzai's government can handle the situation there.

In an interview with NBC on Sunday, Gen. David Petraeus, the top general in Afghanistan, made clear that it will take a lot of time and commitment to achieve the overall goal of preventing Afghanistan from again becoming a haven for international terrorism.

"I didn't come out here to carry out a graceful exit or something like that," Petraeus said of taking command in Afghanistan this summer to replace ousted Gen. Stanley McChrystal.

Petraeus also repeated the administration line on plans to begin withdrawing some troops from Afghanistan in August 2011, saying the "transition" will be based on conditions on the ground.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll surveyed 1,009 Americans between August 6 and 10 and carries a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

- CNN's Alexander Mooney contributed to this report </p

Filed under: Afghanistan • CNN Polls • Iraq • issues • President Obama
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. Angus McDugan

    Why all the opposition to the war Afghanistan? This is the war Obama supported while campaigning for the Presidency. I want the troops out of there ASAP, but I'm just calling the liberals out. You can't have it both ways. So liberals, which way is it now? Get your "stuff" together else you will look uneducated.

    August 17, 2010 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  2. Sue

    It is time to end both Wars.....get the hell out and let them figure it out for themselves......these countries don't want Peace they have been fighting amongest themselves for eons.....We can not bring Peace to countries that don't want it and will not help work to achive Peace......they just want the money that our country is giving them.....and that money is needed here in this country so I say end the conflicts much money and to many young lives have been given up for a Peace that will never come

    August 17, 2010 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  3. Sue

    P.S. and if McCain and these OLD military men want to continue these Wars send their sorry Asses over there and let them fight it themselves.....

    August 17, 2010 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  4. gt

    the only one who likes these wars are the undertakers...get our troops home now !

    August 17, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  5. Rick McDaniel

    We need to pull completely out of Iraq this month, and all support personnel by the end of the year.

    We need to pull out of Afghanistan, within the next 8 mos. including all support personnel. The military is being hamstringed by the politicians, and its time to stop the charade.

    August 17, 2010 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  6. Robertson

    Predictably, the O-Man's election defanged the anti-war movement. We can't be protesting the first black president, can we? Nope, uh uh, no way.

    Hell, now we've got feminists supporting the war in the name of women's liberation. Saving barely functioning "societies" from themselves is orders of magnitude more important than securing our borders, naturally.

    August 17, 2010 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  7. Former Democrat

    Obama was critical of the wars and said that he'd get us out !

    Then he ignored them for 8 months.

    Then he increased forces.

    Come on, this guy has no clue what he is doing.

    August 17, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  8. Hendrik

    If our President will be criticized at every turn for everything he does and he does not have a chance to be reelected in 2012, then he needs to go out in splendor and bring us out of Iraq and Afghanistan before he leaves. That will make people remember him. In a good way.

    August 17, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  9. Randolph Carter, i'm no expert, but...

    You know what victory in Afghanistan and Iraq will look like? 10 year old Afghani and Iraqi children working 12 hour days making 10 cents an hour stitching together Elmo backpacks for Wal-Mart. Isn't global capitalism wonderful? Have a nice day!

    August 17, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  10. bertina

    If Republicans are so hard up for what polls say and what the American people want, then they would support leaving Afghanistan and Iraq NOW.

    August 17, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  11. John N Florida

    I'm no fan of that unwarranted war in Iraq. We should never have been there.
    What's worse is that we would have finished Afghanistan by 2004 if we had NOT gone to Iraq.
    Yes, we would still have had to maintain a presence there for a couple of decades. Germany and Japan both required our presence after WW II while a new generation grew to adulthood which valued their opportunities under a Democracy.
    Where the Taliban had laid down their arms in 2003 and were willing to let a new government come in to being, they're now re-armed and counting on our weariness to do the job they can't accomplish by force of arms.
    G.W., you were a FOOL of the 1st magnitude.

    August 17, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  12. Barry the Airhead

    Many Christians voted for Obama because he promised to get us out of war. Now he's got his own little Vietnam-type war going on in Afghanistan. How's that change working out for you folks?

    August 17, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  13. Rob

    We progressives were right about these wars all along. But, America always needs an enemy. Right?

    The Iraq War was a creation of the Bush Administrations lies and made-up evidence. But, what do you expect from an administration that tried to cover-up and use Pat Tillman as a recruiting poster boy?

    August 17, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  14. Chaco

    Come on now GOP backbiters, you are missing a great chance to say that the President is showing "weakness" because he will be withdrawing from two needless, financially draining wars foisted upon the American people (actually just a small portion of the AMerican people) by your party. Oh I get it, you are playing to the polls and you do not want to go against what 2/3rds of the people want. You guys sure are a highly principled lot.

    August 17, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  15. leanderjim

    Well of course it is. 9 years of war on two fronts is enough to level most economies. Who wouldn't be weary of it. But, to think that a President would take such advantage of an attack on our soil (the first time since 1813), more loss of life than Pearl Harbor, to invade a sovereign nation that did NOTHING to us, all in the name of oil, and profits for huge corporations, is amazing. Anyone who worked in Iraq, stole from the American taxpayer, and made money off of dead American soldiers. I hope you sleep well at night.

    August 17, 2010 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  16. Ben in Texas

    As one who was in the streets protesting the Iraq War before it began, and who has denounced this Bush/Cheney fiasco ever since, I take no pleasure in being vindicated, now that the majority of Americans have caught up to rational thinking.

    I have also long said that Bush and Cheney should be indicted. Unfortunately, it will take America too long to realize the enormous damage those traitors have done to our country, and to punish them accordingly.

    August 17, 2010 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  17. sonny chapman

    One more year, one hundred more years in Afghanistan ? The end results will be the same.

    August 17, 2010 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  18. bbwilk313

    what a mess... as a person without an educated opinion on the war in afganistan, i'm quite nervous. i feel that if america pulls out, how safe are we from terrorist attacks? aren't they going to hold a grudge? don't you think they will want to retaliate? i do... and it makes me nervous, should we send a peace offering or something? i don't want to be randomly blown up because the leaders of this country put the innocent civilians in danger. this is a hott mess. god be with us.

    August 17, 2010 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  19. Abdulameer

    Our only interest in Afghanistan is to prevent that territory from being used as a base for international Islamic terrorism. We achieved that goal eight years ago! Why are we still there? Why are we still squandering American lives and wealth? We need to get out a.s.a.p and be prepared to go back in again if necessary.

    Our misguided policy is based on the totally false premise that Islam is a religion of peace and that we can win the hearts and minds of the Moslem population if only we are kind and generous to them. But, a non-Moslem can never win the heart and mind of a Moslem because religious Moslems are raised on the Koran and the sayings of Muhammad and Sharia law which tell them that non-Moslems are subhuman enemies. Unfortunately, none of our political and military leaders appear to understand the first thing about Islamic doctrines which possess the hearts and minds of religious Moslems.

    August 17, 2010 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  20. aproudmemberoftheunpatrioticmob

    Looks like all that bad mouthing of the wars that Obozo and his liberal lying friends engaged in about the wars during the campaign has come home to roost. Its kind of like the economy, the annointed one and the other union toadys, talked it down so bad to gain political advantage they can't get it up again. They are great liars, but inept in practicality.

    August 17, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  21. Duck Fallas

    Our Marines should know that ALL of the bickering imbiciles back home support THEM. Y'all come home SAFE and SOUND, soon.

    August 17, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  22. Terry

    Where were all these brilliant people when it really mattered?

    August 17, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  23. Independent & A Vietnam Era Veteran

    We lost over 55,000 American lives in Vietnam. We fought there because our leaders told us if South Vietnam fell to the Communists, there would be a domino effect throughout Southeast Asia.

    They almost got it right...there are Dominoe Pizza shops throughout South Vietnam and Southeast Asia today. And American children of Vietnam veterans go on vacation in South Vietnam today with regularity.

    We are being handed the same garbage about Afghanistan today/ It is time to being all the troops home - ALL of them

    August 17, 2010 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  24. carlos

    why is cnn not mentioning that it was the republicants which put the US of A in those infamous wars, however, they do not mention anything about it, all they do is criticize with their nonsense.......anti america and anti american gobp.

    August 17, 2010 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  25. New Yorker

    If you oppose these wars, by all means vote AGAINST the GOP since it is the Republican Party and its Republican President who started them and put billions of American taxpayers money into them, causing the deficits to surge. REMEMBER: all this took place BEFORE President Obama came into the White House – just like the recession, Wall Street problems, worsening unemployment AND America's plunging leadership capabilities and respectability among the world's developed and developing nations!

    August 17, 2010 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
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