Amidst America’s chaotic exit from Afghanistan after 20 years of war, US veterans are more critical than those who did not serve in the military when it comes to the dealing of President Joe Biden’s administration with the issue. They also have less confidence in Biden’s ability to make good decisions about foreign policy and to use military force wisely, said two surveys by Pew Research Center.
In the first survey held August 23-29 (before American troops left Afghanistan), 52 per cent of military veterans said the decision to withdraw troops from the country was the right one. However, 47 per cent did not approve of it. The balance of opinion was similar among adults who did not serve in the military, with 54 per cent saying it was a right decision and 42 per cent saying it was wrong.
With respect to the use of military mission in Afghanistan, veterans and non-veterans had different opinions. When 62 per cent of veterans said it was a right decision, 54 per cent said it was wrong.
In their second survey held September 13-19, six-in-ten veterans said that the Biden administration did a poor job the issue. Both veterans and non-veterans have a negative view of Biden’s efforts in Afghanistan; 76 per cent veterans said the administration has done only a fair or poor job than 74 per cent of non-veterans. Only about a quarter or fewer in both the groups said the administration has done an excellent or good job.
POLICY TOWARDS AFGHANISTAN
The survey found that Republicans and Republican-leaning independents are less supportive than Democrats and Democratic leaners of the decision to pull out all Troops. The PEW Centre also found much disparity between veterans and non-veterans on the Biden administration’s handling of the recent withdrawal. Veterans are likely to align themselves with the Republican Party and veterans who identify as Republican or lean to the GOP are more than five times as likely as Democratic or Democratic-leaning veterans to say the Biden administration has done a poor job handling the situation in Afghanistan.
Among Republicans, veterans are more critical than non-veterans. Around nine-in-ten Republican veterans (about 91 per cent) say the present administration did a poor job when compared to 81 per cent of Republican non-veterans. Around half of Democratic veterans (49 per cent) say Biden has done an excellent or good job in handing things in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, a smaller share of 39 per cent Democratic non-veterans believes otherwise.
The survey found that 49 per cent veterans were not at all confident in Biden’s ability to make good decisions about foreign policy. It said that 33 per cent of non-veterans were of the same view. Similarly 49 per cent of veterans – compared with 33 per cent of non-veterans – say they are not at all confident in Biden’s ability to use military force wisely.
Veterans among Republicans stand out in their criticism of Biden s ability to make the right decisions about foreign policy and use of military force. On both measures, 80 per cent of Republican veterans say they are not at all confident in his abilities. On the other hand, 67 per cent of GOP non-veterans say they are not at all confident in Biden when it comes to making foreign policy decisions, and 65 per cent say the same about his ability to use military force wisely
The PEW Centre survey says that two-thirds of all veterans opined that the US mostly failed in achieving its goals in Afghan. Nearly identical shares of Republican and Democratic veterans (67% and 69%, respectively) say the US failed its mission, and they don’t differ significantly from non-veterans in this regard.
The survey found that both the veterans and non-veterans have similar views when it comes to the threat the Taliban poses to U.S. security. About 47 per cent veterans and 45 per cent of non-veterans say Taliban control of Afghanistan is a major threat to the US security.