Iraq: Did the war succeed? PATROL IN IRAQ: U.S. Army Spc. Johnathon Stewart pauses during a search for insurgents in Rashid, Iraq, on July 11, 2007. Department of Defense photo by Spc. Elisha Dawkins, U.S. Army, released into public domain.Do you think the United States achieved its goals in Iraq?
And if so, was it worth the human and financial costs?

The answer to both questions is yes, according to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. “There is no question that the United States was divided going into that war,” he said in a press briefing four days ago, “but I think the United States is united coming out of that war. We all recognize the tremendous price that has been paid in lives, in blood. And yet I think we also recognize that those lives were not lost in vain.” One result, he said, is an independent and sovereign Iraq, a country that can now govern and secure itself. “I think the price has been worth it,” Panetta said, “to establish a stable government in a very important region of the world.”

Many Americans are not so sure. Just over half (56%) say we mostly succeeded in achieving our goals, according to a poll last month by the Pew Research Center. About two thirds of Republicans (68%) say we mostly succeeded, compared to 56% of Democrats.

Only a minority of Americans (41%) say the removal of Saddam Hussein from power was worth the human and financial cost of the war, according to a CBS News Poll. And, only a third (33%) of Americans say the benefits of the Iraq war were worth the costs of fighting it, finds an ABC News/Washington Post poll.

Do you agree with Panetta’s assessment that we achieved our goals?

Was ousting Saddam Hussein from power worth the cost?

Do the benefits of the Iraq War outweigh the costs?


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Originally published at, an online experiment in civil dialogue on American values.

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