Active military servicemembers and veterans alike overwhelmingly agree with President Trump’s decision to pull the remaining military presence out of Syria and Afghanistan, according to a new poll.
Earlier this week, Trump met with a number of Republican lawmakers to reaffirm the commitment he made to them in December: to bring the remaining troops home.
Republican Senator Rand Paul immediately took to Twitter after the meeting to express support for the decision.
“I have never been prouder of President Donald Trump,” The Kentucky Republican said. “In today’s meeting, he stood up for a strong America and steadfastly opposed foreign wars. Putting America First means declaring victory in Afghanistan and Syria. President Trump is delivering on his promises.”
While some members of Congress disagree with the decision, the Smithsonian conducted a new poll which asked active military members and veterans if the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have gone on for too long. This, as the Smithsonian Magazine reports, is the first time such a question has been asked to both past and present members of the military.
“As far as we know, this survey was the first one to pose that question to current and former service members,” the Smithsonian Magazine said.
The survey consisted 109 active duty military members and 922 veterans, per the report.
Via the Washington Examiner:
So, what did this apparently unprecedented, one-of-a-kind poll find?
The overwhelming majority of respondents, a whopping 84 percent, agreed that the “current occupation” of Iraq and Afghanistan “has been going on too long.” The same poll, however, revealed that 83 percent believed it was important to continue fighting the war on terror. Whether this meant continued troop deployment was not addressed.
However, a YouGov poll conducted in October revealed that 69 percent of veterans wanted to bring the troops home from Afghanistan. This is more than the 61 percent of nonmilitary Americans who also agree with troop withdrawal.
It would probably behoove us to pay more attention to the opinions of those who actually had to fight these wars.
In that vein, the YouGov poll also showed, “Just 22% of the Americans, and 24% of current and former service personnel, say the mission in Afghanistan has been successful.”
The initial announcement drew some backlash and even resulted in the departing of a few administration officials. General James Mattis, for example, resigned from his post at the helm of the Department of Defense because he disagreed with the decision.
Trump’s initial announcement was made on December 19, when he tweeted: “We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump presidency.”
The president followed up the tweet with a video where he said, CBS News reports:
“We’ve been fighting for a long time in Syria. I’ve been president for almost two years, and we’ve really stepped it up, and we have won against ISIS. We’ve beaten them and we’ve beaten them badly, we’ve taken back the land, and now it’s time for our troops to come home. …. Now we’ve won. It’s time to come back. They’re getting ready, you’re gonna see them soon. These are great American heroes. These are great heroes of the world. Because they’ve fought for us, but they’ve killed ISIS, who hurts the world. And we’re proud to have done it. And I’ll tell you, they’re up there looking down on us and there’s nobody happier or more proud of their families to put them in a position where they’ve done such good for so many people.”