Iraq pullout comes as most say war going well

U.S. Army soldiers from 1st Squadron, 7th U.S. Cavalry based in Ft. Hood, Texas, attend a memorial service for victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, at a U.S. base in Balad, Iraq, Sept. 11, 2011.Complete coverage: 9/11 anniversary AP Photo/Hadi Mizban

President Barack Obama announced Friday that U.S. troops will leave Iraq by the end of the year, saying, "Today I can say that our troops in Iraq will definitely be home for the holidays."

The announcement comes amid positive evaluations of the Iraq war among the American public. In a CBS News Poll conducted last month, 57 percent of Americans say the war in Iraq is going at least somewhat well for the U.S. -- in sharp contrast to just 40 percent who say the same thing about Afghanistan.

Most Republican and Democrats (and half of independents) say the war is going well.

Chart - How things are in the U.S.
CBS

Public evaluations of U.S. efforts in Iraq have become more positive in recent years. In September 2008, 52 percent said things were going well - the first time a majority said so since February 2005 (53 percent), shortly after Iraqi elections were held. Since the fall of 2008, Americans' assessments of the Iraq war have been mostly positive.

In May 2003, after then-President George W. Bush announced major combat operations in Iraq were over, 72 percent of Americans thought things were going well in Iraq - the highest number in CBS News Polls. That level was nearly matched in April 2009 when 71 percent said the war was going well.

Assessments of the Iraq war reached their lowest point in June 2007, when only 22 percent said things in Iraq were going well for the United States. Americans' views on the war began to sour about a year into the conflict and amid the treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib.


Line Chart - U.S. in Iraq
CBS

Even though Americans now say the war in Iraq is going well, a CBS News/New York Times Poll conducted in August found 30 percent think U.S. involvement in Iraq has increased the threat of terrorism against the U.S., while half has many (16 percent) say the terror threat has decreased.

Fifty percent of Americans say the Iraq war has had no impact on the terror threat against the United States.

  • Jennifer Pinto

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