US Troops And Veterans Think We've Been In Iraq And Afghanistan For Too Damn Long

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Operation Enduring Freedom Turns 17

Operation Enduring Freedom Turns 17

In news that will shock no one, service members and veterans are less than thrilled that the United States is still embroiled in conflicts — or "advise and assist" missions, to use Pentagon parlance — in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This nugget of insight comes from a survey conducted last Veterans Day, in which current and former service members were asked to respond to questions about national security policy and the current state of the military. The results of the poll were published this month by Smithsonian Magazine.

  • The majority of respondents (84 percent) said they agreed that the "current occupation" of Iraq and Afghanistan "has been going on too long."
  • For anyone who's bitched about the "forever" part of our forever wars, the survey offers some comfort: At least you know you're not alone, though it makes some sense if you felt like you were. As Smithsonian Magazine notes, "as far as we know, this survey was the first one to pose that question to current and former service members."
  • A little more surprising though, is that a lot of those same folks (83 percent) still support the ongoing War on Terror, even as it drags on into its seventeenth year.
  • In terms of national security threats, just over a third of respondents cited "terrorist organizations" followed closely by "rival powers." Rogue nations and criminal organizations ranked lowest in terms of dangers to American security.
  • The poll was a joint effort by the Smithsonian, Stars and Stripes, and Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University, which surveyed 922 veterans and 109 active duty military personnel.
  • The full results of the survey can be found on Smithsonian Magazine, as well as on Stars and Stripes, along with respondent's opinions on current military policies — from transgender personnel in the military, to whether or not American troops should be deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border.

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