March 19th, 2013
04:00 PM ET
10 years ago

CNN Poll: 59% say it was dumb to send troops to Iraq

Washington (CNN) - Ten years after the start of the Iraq war, most Americans say the war was a mistake and that it was dumb to send U.S. troops into the conflict, according to a new national survey.

And a CNN/ORC International poll released Tuesday also indicates that more than half of the public says that President George W. Bush's administration misled Americans about whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and more than half describe the more than eight and a half year long war as a stalemate.

As Americans mark the tenth anniversary of the conflict, 59% of those questioned in the survey say the decision to originally send U.S. troops into Iraq was dumb. That's up eight points from December 2011, when the final U.S. troops left the country. Thirty-eight percent say it was a smart decision, down seven points.

According to the poll, 56% say the war was a mistake, with 43% disagreeing.

"Most Republicans believe that the Iraq War was not a mistake, but 62 percent of independents and 70 percent of Democrats disagree," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Only a quarter of the public describes the war as a victory for America, down five points from December 2011, with 55% saying the conflict was a stalemate, pretty much unchanged. Eighteen percent say the war was a defeat for the U.S., up seven points from December 2011.

A majority of Americans (54%) say that prior to the start of the war the administration of George W. Bush deliberately misled the U.S. public about whether Baghdad had weapons of mass destruction. That may explain why 51% say that the Iraq war was not morally justified. Forty-eight percent say the conflict was morally justified.

Public support for the war was high after the initial March 2003 invasion by U.S. forces, and remained high throughout that year, which ended with the capture of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in December. But public backing of the war started to deteriorate in 2004, with mounting American casualties and scandals such as the one at the Abu Ghraib prison, and as the conflict became the top issue in that year's presidential election.

The new poll was conducted March 15-17 for CNN by ORC International, with 1,021 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

Filed under: CNN/ORC International poll • Iraq
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. ThinkAgain

    WIth all these numbers, why are we prosecuting Bush & Co for war crimes? At the very least, treason?

    March 19, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  2. Ed1

    Anybody can be an arm chair quarterback try making the decision live at the moment.

    What a bunch of jerks you are for voting like that now must be running for office.

    March 19, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    I have always said that it was wrong to go into Iraq. Saying that Bin Ladan and Saddam were working to together just simply did not make any sense at all. First of all, each was king of his own empire, unwilling to share power with no one. So, working together and allowing someone else to call the big shots was out of the question for each of them.

    Second, UN inspectors had been on the ground for months and months leading up to day that the first bombs fell on Baghdad. In fact, the UN inspectors' jet to take them out of the country had lifted off shortly before bombs began falling. It would not be inaccurate to say that their jet and US warplanes shared the same airspace, of less than one hour's flight time from Baghdad, at the same time. The UN inspectors had repeatedly found nothing, and nothing else.

    March 19, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    I was against the Iraq war from the very beginning. Whoever supported that war, doesn't have my support. I love Hillary, but she voted for that war and therefore lost my vote in 2008. From the very moment the Bush Administration hinted at the notion of going to war, I knew this what all about oil and Bush getting revenge for Saddam attempting to kill his daddy.

    March 19, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  5. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Dumb? They MURDERED our children over oil!! I hope Bush, Cheney and the entire corrupt administration ROT IN HELL!

    March 19, 2013 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  6. NotFooledByDistractions

    It wasn't just "dumb" it was the greatest foreign policy debacle this country has seen in generations.

    March 19, 2013 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  7. Former GOPer

    The American public is too DUMB to call for the prosecution of war criminals Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Rice et al.

    March 19, 2013 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  8. lkinaustin

    I too was against the Iraq war from the very beginning. The perpetrators of 9/11 were NOT from Iraq – they were all our "friends" from Saudi Arabia. Why Bush & Company were so intent on attacking Iraq, we will probably never know (was it oil or payback for trying to kill GHWB?), but they threw "9/11" at the public every time they could – preying on the fears on the American public that it could happen in their home town. Fear mongering at its absolute finest.

    And in the first couple of years after 9/11, if you were not FOR the war, you were looked at as a traitor – un-American. THAT'S why Hillary and the rest of the Democrats supported the war. It was so unpopular to be against it, that would have been political suicide at the time. Too bad they didn't have the guts to stand up for their true feelings and let time prove their wisdom. Bush & Co. should be tried for war crimes. They decimated a country and killed/maimed thousands of our miliary personnel and killed/maimed hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians. What would we think if another country attached us and occupied us for 10 years? We would see them as liberators??? I doubt it. Honestly can't imagine how those people sleep at night.

    March 19, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  9. sonny chapman

    "Most Repubs..." Never sent their kids, Grandkids or neighbors kids to war. And never went to Vietnam either.

    March 19, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  10. pkrbkr

    On this anniversary of the Iraq War, I think we should send the children of people in Congress FIRST before going into another country. Aren't we sick of spending money and losing lives?

    March 19, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  11. sonny chapman

    The day of Sept. 11,2001, I worried 1- Bush/Cheney/Rove would try to use it as a political club against all those who opposed them on anything & 2-They'd go after the wrong guys.

    March 19, 2013 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  12. Lynda/Minnesota

    Yeah. I'm one of the 59% who absolutely thought it was dumb. And yeah. I'm also in agreement that Bush lied his way into that war. And one more yeah. I voted for the man first time around. So, yeah. I feel responsible as well.

    March 19, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  13. Rusty Krus

    Bush and Cheney are like Don Knotts and Tim Conway. Who actually voted for these imbeciles?

    March 19, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  14. ak_steve

    I thought it was dumb from day 1. I suffered the patriotic uninformed cries for war that 80%+ of this country was shouting. Led by a president who purposely mislead the country and a complacent press the US embarrassed itselves in front of the whole world.

    We sacrificed are reputation and integrity. Anyone who dared to differ was shamed and called un-American (remember the Dixies Chicks). Since then we have lost our way. Led by a GOP that will say anything (and do nothing) to what they want. First they destroy our international reputation. Now they will tear down our economy just to not do what the majority of Americans want.

    History will remember the beginning of this century as the decade the far-right destroyed America. Thank you GOP.

    March 19, 2013 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  15. don in albuquerque

    Some wars are just. WWII was just, but since WWII we have not done too well on the war front even though we spend in some cases ten times more then other countries on "defense." Oh, I take that back we did invade some little Carrib island with a population of about 50 and four goats--that we won. All we did by invading Iraq was destabilize the entire middle east because Saddam threatened W's daddy, and we wanted to steal the natural resources (oil) of another county, only shucky darn. We forgot to bring any oil home.

    March 19, 2013 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  16. Martha in CF

    1st-Saddam Hussein should have been done away with when Bush 1 was president, when Saddam was the aggressor. I also thought Afghanistan should have been dealt with first before Iraq was to be in the picture. It is sad the people you are trusting in DC -well you just can't trust them anymore..........The poor people who have suffered in some way over this stupid war.........I also say leave Afghanistan by the end of THIS year.....

    March 19, 2013 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |