A small majority of Americans believe the Iraq war, now in its eighth year, will be judged a failure in the light of history, rather than a success.
The new Gallup poll
shows a wide partisan divide on the public's view of Iraq, but the overall findings vary little from previous surveys. The telephone sampling of 1,013 adults was taken between Aug. 5 and Aug. 8, before the last U.S. combat brigades rolled out of Iraq on Wednesday. About 50,000 American troops are staying on to provide logistical support to the Iraqis in the on-going struggle with insurgents.
While 53 percent say the war will be seen as a failure (compared to 42 percent who see it as a success), most Americans think Iraq is much better off, or at least somewhat better off today than it was before the U.S.-led invasion topped the dictator, Saddam Hussein. Sixty-four percent say things are better in Iraq, even with an unstable government and continued terrorist attacks.
The war, launched in 2003 by President George W. Bush, is viewed as a "mistake" by 78 percent of the Democrats surveyed, while 67 percent of the Republicans questioned say the invasion wasn't the wrong move. Similarly, on the history question, 70 percent of the Democrats say it will go down as a failure, while 60 percent of Republicans think the war will be judged successful.
Regardless of party affiliation, a significant majority thinks Iraqi security forces will not be up to the task of holding back insurgent attacks. Even so, a smaller majority believes the U.S. withdrawal should remain on track for a near-complete pull out by the end of next year, regardless of events in Iraq.
More than 4,400 Americans
have lost their lives in since the war commenced in March 2003.