Public Support For Gulf War Wanes

Dr. Jos Perriens, left, director of the HIV/AIDS department of the World Health Organisation, speaks about WHO's and UNAIDS' recommendations on male circumcision for HIV prevention during a press conference at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Wedensday, March 28, 2007. Next to him is Dr. Teguest Guerma, associate director of WHO's department of HIV/AIDS.
AP/Keystone, Salvatore Di Nolfi
Looking back to the Persian Gulf War ten years later, a slender majority of Americans say defeating Iraq was worth the cost, according to a CBS News poll.

A similarly small majority approves of former President Bush's handling of Iraq. But no matter whether or not they think the war was worthwhile, most Americans think the U.S. should have continued fighting until Saddam Hussein was removed from power.

Fifty-one percent of Americans say the war was worth it, given the loss of life and the other costs to defeat Iraq. Thiry-nine percent say it was not worth it, and 10 percent have no opinion one way or the other.

Positive assessments of the Gulf war are now lower than in 1993, two years after the conclusion of the conflict. Then, six out of ten Americans said the war was worth the cost, and about a third thought not.

There are gender and party differences. While Republicans say the war was worth it by 67-26 percent, and men think so by 60-36 percent, Democrats and women are evenly divided in their assessments of the Gulf War.

CBSNEWS - New York Times Polls

Worth it



Not worth it



No opinion




Fifty-five percent now approve of the way former President Bush handled the situation with Iraq, while 32 percent disapprove. In 1994, the public approved of Bush's handling of Iraq by a 2-1 margin.

Again, opinions vary along the lines of gender and party affilition. Three out of four Republicans approve of the former president's handling of the situation with Iraq, while Democrats are evenly split. Sixty-two percent of men approve of the way former President Bush handled Iraq; less than half of women do.

Regardless of their evaluations of the worthiness of the Persian Gulf War and the way former President Bush handled it, most Americans believe - as they have since the end of the war - that the war should not have ended until Saddam Hussein was removed from power.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans now say the U.S. should have continued fighting until Saddam was overthrown, while about a quarter think the U.S. was right to have stopped when Iraqi troops left Kuwait.

This poll was conducted by telephone February 10-12, 2001, among 1,124 adults nationwide. The error due to sampling could be plus or minus three percentage points for results based on the entire sample. Sampling error for subgroups may be higher.size>

For detailed information on how CBS News conducts public opinion surveys, click here.

©MMI Viacom Internet Services Inc. All Rights Reserved