This year, popularity for the War in Afghanistan was at an all time low in the United States.
In 2021 46% of Americans believed sending military forces to Afghanistan was a mistake, as opposed to 6% in 2002, and it is easy to see why. 2,000 service member deaths and nearly 3 trillion taxpayer dollars later, the United States has only left Afghanistan in a worse state than when the war started. These failures and the recently fumbled withdrawal of United States troops have provided ample reason for the war to fall out of favor with the public.
However, while the public’s reasons to dislike the war were valid, there seems to be a disconnect between why Americans disapproved of the war and the effects the war has had on Afghanistan and its people. Almost 70,000 Afghan military and police and at least 47,000 noncombatants have been killed since the war started, and for the loss of many of those lives, the United States is to blame. As shown in a report by the Columbia Human Rights Clinic, the United States’ heavy use of drone strikes has resulted in a large number of untrackable civilian deaths. Military mistreatment of civilians and enemy combatants, including massacre, has occured in Afghanistan at the hands of the United States.
It is very possible some of these controversies will become more discussed in the years to come. They could shift how Americans perceive the United States’ role in Afghanistan, or even could fundamentally shift how Americans see their government’s role in foreign conflicts.
Phillips, A. (2021, August 19). Analysis | when and how Americans started souring on the war in Afghanistan. The Washington Post. Retrieved September 17, 2021, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/08/18/when-how-americans-started-souring-war-afghanistan/.
Knickmeyer, E. (2021, August 17). Costs of the Afghanistan War, in lives and dollars. AP NEWS. Retrieved September 22, 2021, from https://apnews.com/article/middle-east-business-afghanistan-43d8f53b35e80ec18c130cd683e1a38f.
Brenan, M. (2021, August 13). Americans split on whether Afghanistan War was a mistake. Gallup.com. Retrieved September 22, 2021, from https://news.gallup.com/poll/352793/americans-split-whether-afghanistan-war-mistake.aspx.