U.S. Veterans Before and After 9/11 View U.S. Policy and Wars Differently
War changes the body and mind and each military experience can be vastly different.
U.S. military veterans are molded by their experiences, so it is no wonder why veterans who served during 9/11 and post-9/11 view war and the U.S. foreign policy differently. According to a Pew Research Center poll, the newer generations in the military view U.S. foreign policy skeptically.
The report also noted that veterans who fought in wars since 9/11 were also more likely to be deployed in active duty more than once and about one-in-five veterans served active duty after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, “giving them a distinct set of experiences compared with those who served in previous eras,” the report found.
War is taxing both physically and mentally, and nearly half “of post-9/11 veterans say they had emotionally traumatic or distressing experiences related to their military service, compared with one-quarter of pre-9/11 veterans,” with 35% seeking professional therapy to deal with their trauma.
Additional information found during the same survey revealed that a majority of veterans believe the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were not worth fighting, with views differing slightly by political ideology. Republican-leaning veterans were more likely (45%) to say the wars in Iraq were worth fighting, compared to their Democrat counterparts (15%), “while 46% of Republican veterans and 26% of Democratic veterans say the same about Afghanistan.”
The survey, which was conducted prior to President Trump’s decision to remove U.S. troops from Syria and published just in time for Veteran’s Day, also found that 42% of veterans said U.S. presence in Syria has been worth it, compared to 55% who said it was not.
Despite ideological differences, veterans overall felt prideful in their decision to serve in the military. Whether their view of U.S. foreign affairs was negative or positive, veterans in the survey revealed they were extremely proud of their service. More than half of all veterans (68%) said they frequently felt pride in serving.