The 1 percent of Americans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan are unified more than anything else by one attitude: They have few regrets.
Nearly nine in 10 say that even considering all they know about the military, they’d still choose to join if they could make the decision again, according to a Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll. That view wavers little among those who paid a bigger price for their service: 92 percent among those who were seriously injured, 88 percent whose physical health is worse, 79 percent who say the wars are not worth fighting, and even 90 percent who did things in war that made them feel guilty.
The near unanimous confidence – rare agreement for opinion surveys – contrasts with splintered views over whether the wars were worth fighting and President Barack Obama and Bush’s leadership. On those issues, veterans break along partisan lines.
Personal conviction is important. Fully 87 percent feel proud about what they did in the war – 51 percent feel this way often. That pride also comes with a rare distinction, given 99 percent of Americans did not volunteer.