Nearly all post-9/11 veterans say they are proud of their military service, but one-in-three say neither the War in Afghanistan or War in Iraq have been worth fighting, according to a Pew Research Center study released today.
About the same – 34 percent – say that the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars were both worth fighting. A higher percentage supported either the Iraq or Afghanistan Wars – 44 and 50 percent respectively. Russell Galeti, Jr., now a Georgetown graduate student, is one of them.
“As a veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan, I feel that Afghanistan in particular has been worth our efforts and most of if not all our attention,” he told ABC News.
But, he added, “The greatest characteristic about the American fighting men and women, however, is even when handed a mission they have trouble seeing the value in or have trouble believing in, they put their all into that mission and very energetically make it worth their time and give that mission value.”
The all-volunteer, active-duty military made up just one-half of one percent of the U.S. population, at any given time during the past decade of sustained warfare — creating what some refer to as the “military-civilian gap.”
According to the study, some 84 percent of post-9/11 veterans say the public does not understand the problems faced by those in the military, or their families. 71 percent of the public agrees, but only 26 percent say it’s unfair.
Meanwhile, 44 percent of post-9/11 veterans say they’ve had difficulties readjusting to civilian life, and 37 percent say they have post-traumatic stress.
“There is never a shortage of soldiers who are willing to adapt, lead, and try to make life better for the peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan no matter their personal opinions on the bigger picture,” Galeti said.
Read the Pew study here.