The Good War, Now Not So Good

When Barack Obama ran for president in 2008, he promised that he would get us out of Iraq, the war everyone hated, and concentrate our efforts in Afghanistan, the good war. We had gone into Iraq on the basis of two false premises, one implied by the Bush administration (Saddam Hussein was responsible in some way for September 11) and one stated explicitly (Saddam had a terrifying arsenal of weapons of mass destruction with which he would be attacking us any day if we didn't attack him first). But Afghanistan was the war we could agree on. Sure, we'd been there for too long, and it was a devil of a mess. But that's where the September 11 attacks came from, so we were justified in going there.

Over 12 years later, we've finally passed a milestone. According to the latest Gallup poll, a war that was supported by nine in ten Americans at its outset is now opposed by a plurality of us, with 49 percent saying it was a mistake to ever go there in the first place and 48 saying it wasn't a mistake:

We've now amassed over 2,300 American dead there, in addition to the hundreds of billions of dollars we've spent. We didn't get Osama bin Laden when we invaded. Our "partner" Hamid Karzai increasingly looks like he has lost his mind and is determined to make sure that when American troops leave later this year, the country will promptly get taken over by the Taliban again. So it isn't too surprising that so many Americans are asking what the whole thing was for.

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