Survey: Veteran Legacy of Pride and Pain

Last month, the Washington Post published the results of a survey of veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The title of the summary article aptly summarizes the findings: “A Legacy of Pride and Pain.” The full survey is here, with questions and responses broken down by category.

Based on the survey, you would have to say that a very high percentage of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans feel pretty good about their service.

  • Considering everything you now know about military service, if you had the chance to make the decision again, would you choose to join the military, or not?
    – Yes: 87%
  • Would you say you did anything in the Iraq and/or Afghanistan war(s) that made you feel proud, or not?
    – Yes: 87%
  • Would you say you did anything in the Iraq and/or Afghanistan war(s) that made you feel guilty, or not?
    – No: 74%
    – Yes: 25% (More on this in a later post)

That’s true, even though a much smaller percentage are sold on the overall value of the operations.

  • All in all, considering the costs to the United States versus the benefits to the United States, do you think the war in Iraq was worth fighting, or not?
    – Yes: 44%
    – No: 50%
  • And do you think the war in Afghanistan has been worth fighting, or not?
    – Yes: 53%
    – No: 41%

They think about their service a lot.

  • How often would you say you think about your service in the Iraq and/or Afghan war(s)?
    – Every day: 33%
    – A few days a week: 20%
    – Once a week: 9%
    – A few times a month: 15%
    – Less often than that: 22%

And, for many, their service came with a price.

  • Thinking about your physical health now compared to before your involvement in the Iraq and/or Afghanistan war(s) would you say your physical health now is better, worse, or about the same?
    – Better: 12%
    – Worse: 43%
    – About the same: 45%
  • Comparing your mental and emotional health now to before your involvement in the Iraq and/or Afghanistan war(s), would you say it is better now, worse now, or about the same?
    – Better now: 12%
    – Worse now: 31%
    – About the same: 56%
  • For each, tell me how often, if at all, you personally have experienced the following as a result of your military service:
    • Relationship problems with spouse / partner:
      – Often: 21%
      – Sometimes: 24%
    • Outbursts of anger:
      – Often: 15%
      – Sometimes: 25%
    • Feeling disconnected from civilian life:
      – Often: 27%
      – Sometimes: 28%
    • Feeling average American didn’t understand your experience:
      – Often: 39%
      – Sometimes: 30%
    • Relationship problems with children:
      – Often: 7%
      – Sometimes: 12%

 

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