U.S. forces were sent into Afghanistan in the weeks after the 9/11 attacks on the United States to topple that country’s Taliban leaders who had harbored the al-Qaeda terrorists responsible. What initially seemed like a quick victory became the longest war in American history. The Taliban made a comeback, and now have shadow governments in nearly every Afghan province. They seem likely to overthrow the U.S.-backed government in Kabul when our troops are withdrawn.
The invasion of Iraq was launched by the Bush administration based on false claims. It was a breach of the United Nations Charter, a war of aggression. By September 2004, the Iraq Survey Group final report concluded that the dangerous weapons of mass destruction cited by President Bush as a threat to U.S. national security never existed. By March 2007, the Pentagon finished reviewing more than 600,000 Iraqi documents that were captured after the U.S. invasion. The conclusion: there is no evidence that Saddam Hussein’s regime ever had any operational links with Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda terrorist network.
Therefore, it should not be surprising that 33 percent of the post-9/11 veterans who took part in a recent poll by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center said neither of those two wars was worthwhile considering the costs versus the benefits to the United States. That compared to 45 percent of nonmilitary poll respondents who said neither war was worthwhile.
More than 4,400 U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq and almost 1,700 killed in Afghanistan. These figures do not include suicides.