Two decades after the United States invaded Iraq, 61 percent of Americans do not believe the country made the right decision by invading Iraq, according to a new Axios/Ipsos poll.
“The chaos and destruction that followed the invasion have made a generation of Americans and their leaders more skeptical of the use of military force overseas, in particular in the Middle East,” said an Axios report of the poll published last week.
The invasion toppled a “brutal dictator” but “sparked 20 years of instability in Iraq, and damaged America’s standing in the world,” it noted.
On March 17, 2003, then U.S. President George W. Bush issued an ultimatum that the United States would take military action if Iraqi President Saddam Hussein did not leave Iraq within 48 hours. On March 19, bombs began to fall on Baghdad. On March 20, the ground invasion commenced.
The invasion was extremely controversial overseas, but highly popular then in the United States. A Pew poll in February 2003 found that 66 percent of Americans approved of the military action and only 26 percent disapproved.
However, the Bush administration had justified the invasion on the grounds that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, which were never found. Fifty seven percent of Americans at the time also believed, falsely, that Saddam Hussein had played a role in the 9/11 attacks, per Pew.