A broken clock

Most Americans now say that sending U.S. troops to Iraq was a mistake, a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll finds. For the first time, a majority also says that the war there has made the nation less safe from terrorism. The survey taken Monday through Wednesday shows a turnaround in views toward the war in less than a month. Continued violence in Iraq and questions about the war’s justification apparently are eroding support even as the U.S. moves to turn over sovereignty to an interim Iraqi government next week.

It is the first time since Vietnam that a majority of Americans has called a major deployment of U.S. forces a mistake. When the war in Iraq began last year, the public by three-to-one said sending troops wasn’t a mistake. Just three weeks ago, 58% still held that view. Now, 54% say it was a mistake.

I’m not the least bit surprised. The Iraqi War has been over for some time now and the return of the troops is long overdue. Military force should be used wisely, judiciously and only for the purposes for which they are created. The armed forces went in, took out Hussein, captured him and so accomplished their mission. At that point they should have either been given a new military mission or brought home. Nation-building is a foolish and doomed enterprise in which we should never have engaged. The administration’s decision to engage in it will have the net effect of severely weakening the war on method and is unlikely to help the coming war against the jihad.