About half of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans (47%) said that they served with a comrade that had been killed. That number rises to 62% among soldiers who were in combat.
As Sunni militants make a major military push against the central government in Iraq, the Obama administration is said to have rebuffed requests from Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to use drones to strike at extremist bases. That reported reluctance follows years of U.S. military intervention in Iraq that many Americans say was misguided and failed to achieve its goals.
By the next decennial anniversary, the VA estimates that their numbers will be down to 81,117.
Asked whether the VA put enough focus on post-9/11 war veterans compared to its treatment of previous generations of veterans, half of those who served in Iraq or Afghanistan said the treatment they got was about the right amount while 44% said it was not enough.
Veterans returning from serving in Iraq or Afghanistan say they have found re-entering civilian life to be difficult. A significant share says they have experienced outbursts of anger in daily life. Others say their mental or emotional health is worse since their time in the service, or that they have suffered post-traumatic stress disorder.
Share of post-9/11 veterans who say their military experience was relevant to their civilian job.
Veterans make up a smaller share of Congress than at any time in the past five decades.
More than three-quarters of Americans continue to believe that members of the military contribute “a lot” to society’s well-being. By contrast, only 37% say clergy make a big contribution to society, and journalists have dropped the most in public esteem since 2009.
While very important, few believe sexual assault is a bigger problem in the military than outside it, and most say it does not reflect underlying problems with military culture.
As the nation prepares to celebrate Memorial Day, most Americans have feelings of pride in the soldiers who fought in America’s post-9/11 conflicts. But the public that will be observing the holiday is also one increasingly disconnected from the military.