Support For War In Afghanistan Hits All-Time Low
After a two month period that saw riots after American forces inadvertently burned copies of the Koran that resulted in the deaths of several Americans, and an apparent massacre of 17 Afghans by an American service member, support for the war in Afghanistan has hit an all-time low:
WASHINGTON — After a series of violent episodes and setbacks, support for the war in Afghanistan has dropped sharply among both Republicans and Democrats, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.
The survey found that more than two-thirds of those polled — 69 percent — thought that the United States should not be at war in Afghanistan. Just four months ago, 53 percent said that Americans should no longer be fighting in the conflict, more than a decade old.
The increased disillusionment was even more pronounced when respondents were asked their impressions of how the war was going. The poll found that 68 percent thought the fighting was going “somewhat badly” or “very badly,” compared with 42 percent who had those impressions in November.
The latest poll was conducted by telephone from March 21 to 25 with 986 adults nationwide. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.
The Times/CBS News poll was consistent with other surveys this month that showed a drop in support for the war. In a Washington Post/ABC News poll, 60 percent of respondents said the war in Afghanistan had not been worth the fighting, while 57 percent in a Pew Research Center poll said that the United States should bring home American troops as soon as possible. In a Gallup/USA Today poll, 50 percent of respondents said the United States should speed up the withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Negative impressions of the war have grown among Republicans as well as Democrats, according to the Times/CBS News poll. Among Republicans, 60 percent said the war was going somewhat or very badly, compared with 40 percent in November. Among Democrats, 68 percent said the war was going somewhat or very badly, compared with 38 percent in November. But the poll found that Republicans were more likely to want to stay in Afghanistan for as long as it would take to stabilize the situation: 3 in 10 said the United States should stay, compared with 2 in 10 independents and 1 in 10 Democrats.
Republicans themselves are divided, however, over when to leave, with a plurality, 40 percent, saying the United States should withdraw earlier than the end of 2014, when under an agreement with the Afghan government all American troops are to be out of the country.
This isn’t entirely surprising. In the past month, we’ve seen polls from ABC News and Rasmussen that say essentially the same thing and previous polling on this topic has shown public disdain for the war increasing steadily to the point where it’s unlikely that we’ll ever bounce back from this number. At this point, we seem to be on an inexorable path to withdrawal regardless of who wins in November. Not just because the American people don’t want it, but because it’s becoming eminently clear that the Afghans don’t want it either and that a continued presence in the nation simply isn’t in our national interests anymore.