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Just 21% Say 9/11-Driven Mission in Afghanistan Has Been Accomplished

Monday, September 12, 2011

Less than one month after the September 11, 2001 attacks, President George W. Bush ordered the invasion of Afghanistan to end that country’s harboring of al Qaeda terrorists training against the United States. Nearly 10 years later, with Afghanistan now America’s longest war, most Americans think that mission remains unfinished.

Just 21% of Adults believe the original mission behind the war in Afghanistan has been accomplished. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 60% think the mission has not been accomplished, with another 18% not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Thirty-five percent (35%) of Republicans think the mission to end al Qaeda’s safe harbor has been accomplished, but that compares to just 10% of Democrats and 19% of adults not affiliated with either of the major parties. Most Democrats (75%) and most unaffiliated adults (59%) feel the mission has not been accomplished, and even a plurality (47%) of Republicans agrees.

Yet these findings come at a time when 59% of Likely Voters want all U.S. troops brought home from Afghanistan either immediately or within the next year.  Just 22% believe the United States has a clearly defined mission in Afghanistan.

Since the killing of 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden in early May, belief in this country that al Qaeda, the group he headed, is weaker has surged: 50% now think the group is weaker today than it was before 9/11.

While radical Muslims were the perpetrators of the 9/11 sneak attacks and had tried eight years earlier to topple the World Trade Center, a plurality (44%) of Americans think America’s relationship with the Muslim world is even worse today. Only 11% believe the U.S.-Muslim relationship is better than it was before the 9/11 attacks. Thirty-four percent (34%) view it as about the same.

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The national survey of 1,000 American Adults was conducted on September 9-10, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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