Poll: More see failure rather than success in Iraq, Afghanistan

The public -- Democrats and Republicans, alike -- doesn't think the U.S. succeeded in Iraq or Afghanistan, a new poll by the Pew Research Center and USA TODAY finds. 

The national survey found that half of Americans -- 52 percent -- say the U.S. has "mostly failed" to achieve its goals in Afghanistan while 38 percent say it has "mostly succeeded." 

Opinions about Iraq are virtually the same: 52 percent say the United States has "mostly failed" in reaching its goals there, while 37 percent say it has "mostly succeeded." 

Pew says that in both cases, evaluations of the wars have grown more negative in recent years. 

In November 2011, as the U.S. was completing its military withdrawal from Iraq, a majority -- 56 percent -- thought the U.S. had achieved its goals. 

And in June 2011, shortly after the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, 58 percent said they believed the U.S. would achieve its goals in Afghanistan. 

The national survey, conducted Jan. 15-19 among 1,504 adults, finds more positive views about the decision to take military action in Afghanistan. 

About half -- 51 percent -- say the decision to use military force was the right one, while 41 percent say it was the wrong decision. 

The poll shows a partisan divide with the decisions to use military force in Iraq and Afghanistan continuing to draw majority support among Republicans. 

By contrast, Democrats are divided about evenly over whether it was right or wrong for the U.S. to use force in Afghanistan, and Democrats continue to overwhelmingly oppose the decision to use force in Iraq. 

BY LESLEY CLARK

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