Obama’s War Policy Continues To Lose Support

The American military is on a mission in Afghanistan that the public is increasingly starting to question.

A new USA Today/Gallup poll has yet more bad news for the Obama Administration:

WASHINGTON — Public support for President Obama’s Afghanistan war policy has plummeted amid a rising U.S. death toll and the unauthorized release of classified military documents, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll shows.

Support for Obama’s management of the war fell to 36%, down from 48% in a February poll. Now, a record 43% also say it was a mistake to go to war there after the terrorist attacks in 2001.

The decline in support contributed to the lowest approval ratings of Obama’s presidency. Amid a lengthy recession, more Americans support his handling of the economy (39%) than the war.

Even Obama’s handling of the war in Iraq received record-low approval, despite a drawdown of 90,000 troops and the planned, on-schedule end of U.S. combat operations there this month.

Only 41% of those surveyed Tuesday through Sunday approved of the way Obama is handling his job, his lowest rating in the USA TODAY/Gallup Poll since he took office in January 2009. In Gallup’s separate daily tracking poll, his approval was at 45% Monday.

The waning support for the Afghanistan war coincides with the deaths of a record 66 U.S. servicemembers in July, up from 60 in June. As the last of 30,000 reinforcements ordered by Obama enter the country, the international military force is encountering heavy Taliban resistance in the southern provinces of Kandahar and Helmand.

“It’s hard to find any positive news that would boost public opinion,” says Richard Eichenberg of Tufts University, who studies presidential polling and foreign policy.

Indeed, the current counter-insurgency strategy seems designed to bring nothing but bad news on a regular basis. If there were even the slightest possibility of success in the near-term future, that would probably be an acceptable thing for the Obama Administration to bear as the military works toward achieving our stated goals. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any likelihood that the current strategy will achieve those goals, or that those goals are even capable of being achieved.

At this point, it seems clear that President Obama’s decision to agree with Stanley McChrystal’s counter-insurgency plan, rather than the counter-terrorism plans put forward by people like Vice-President Biden was the wrong decision. The American people seem to be realizing that, even if they aren’t exactly voicing that specific thought. Now it’s time for our leaders in Washington to accept that fact.

FILED UNDER: Asia, Barack Obama, Politicians, US Politics, World Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. ponce says:

    The cynic in me says this was Obama’s plan all along.
    A reluctant withdrawal announced sometime in early 2012…”We gave it our best shot.”
     
     

  2. Pete says:

    I’m afraid this is just one of many Obama policies that is losing support. All the “Hope and Change” kool aid drinkers had better pay attention to future electioneering and place a healthy dose of skepticism on campaign speeches and more serious consideration of background and the fact politicians are unctuous, lying cretins who will say anything to get elected. Lower still are the advisors who feed the candidates lies and distortions hoping to land powerful, influential and featherbedding jobs after their candidate gets elected. These subhumans are searching for the unobstructed path to riches and do not have the best interests of their clients nor the country at heart. Grow up, America, and take politics seriously. These bloodsuckers will kill the Golden Goose.

  3. tom p says:

    All the “Hope and Change” kool aid drinkers had better pay attention to future electioneering and place a healthy dose of skepticism on campaign speeches and more serious consideration of background and the fact politicians are unctuous,

    Pete, do you apply these same principals to the democratic counterparts?

  4. tom p says:

    Pete, do you apply these same principals to the democratic counterparts?

    Yeah, the same guys who cut taxes twice without cutting spending half of one… the same guys who gave you not one, but TWO unfunded wars, the same guys who expanded medicare without one iota of payment for it?

    Pete, you are the definition of “naive”… You actually (like James) think the Republicans have seen the light.

    James, you recently said “cynicism” has always served you well when predicting the future. I suggest you apply it now.

  5. Pete says:

    tom p, where do I show support for Repubs? Guess you must be one of the disappointed kool aid drinkers. As soon as you admit you were stupid, an intelligent debate might ensue.

  6. tom p says:

    Pete, an intelligent discussion would begin with something more than one sided insults to Obama (or politicians in general with Obama as example one). So tell me, why did you not single out McConnell? McCain? Lieberman? Pelosi?

    No, Obama is the epitomy of what you describe as a politician… But I drink the Kool-aid.
    If you want to talk about Obama, talk about Obama, not Rangel, Waters. Delay, Vitters or Ensign… There is plenty of slime to go around.

  7. tom p says:

    At this point, it seems clear that President Obama’s decision to agree with Stanley McChrystal’s counter-insurgency plan, rather than the counter-terrorism plans put forward by people like Vice-President Biden was the wrong decision.

    Doug, as one who has argued against the invasion of Afghanistan from the beginning, do I hear you agreeing with Biden? (something I do not do)(he wants to stay there indefinitely… with out really being there)

  8. Dave Schuler says:

    You can’t unbake a cake and if we withdraw from Afghanistan this year or next without the situation there being much different than it is now the situation is not merely likely to return to the status quo ante–it could get much worse.  For example, Pakistan is even less stable now than it was when we invaded nine years ago.  Will it become more stable by our withdrawing?  I doubt it.

    I opposed the invasion of Afghanistan and IMO it’s increasingly obvious that my position was the correct one.   Nonetheless, that we shouldn’t have invaded Afghanistan at all does not translate into complete withdrawal from Afghanistan after having invaded and removing the Taliban from power with the Taliban retaliating by undermining power structures in both Afghanistan and Pakistan being the prudent course of action.

    IMO our best course of action among no really good alternatives would be maintaining the smallest, least obtrusive U. S. force practicable with a greatly reduced mission–reallly just preventing Al Qaeda from taking over the country or a rapid response force in case of Pakistan’s collapse.  Without such a commitment I think it’s unrealistic to expect us to continue to support the Kabul government financially and without our financial support it’s likely to collapse quickly.

  9. steve says:

    “, Pakistan is even less stable now than it was when we invaded nine years ago.  Will it become more stable by our withdrawing?  I doubt it.”

    I dont think Pakistan is much more or less stable. I suspect if we leave, Pakistan will just support the Taliban as they take over as much as they can again. They just dont want India there.

    Steve

  10. anjin-san says:

    Has anyone had any luck in Afghanistan since Alexander the Great? Probably time to think about packing up and going home.

  11. c.red says:

    Dave – while I more or less agree with your assessment, what makes you think that whatever power structure emerges in Afghanistan after we reduce our mission would be willing to accept ANY US presence?

    The least bad scenario I can see will be the US supplying weapons to pro-US partisans (are there any?) and fighting a proxy war, essentially keeping our soldiers in the area at the same level of engagement they are at now, or worst case would be Taliban taking back over, where we would have to leave outright. Either way we’re not going to have much influence in the area to keep out Al Quaeda.

  12. Juneau: says:

    @ tom p
    the same guys who gave you not one, but TWO unfunded wars
    Hey!  How do you have a “funded” war?  Please enlighten me, because it’s never happened anywhere before in history.    I’m sure that the leaders of the world are waiting for your secret.

  13. Juneau: says:

    @ anjin
    Has anyone had any luck in Afghanistan since Alexander the Great? Probably time to think about packing up and going home.
    Yeah, I think that when the going gets tough, real Americans start getting out their daily planners and rearranging their schedules.  After all, it’s no disgrace to be a quitter, little Bobby.  Remember, persistence is for stupid people… smart people look for signs that it might be too hard,  and then just move on to something easier.
     
     

  14. An Interested Party says:

    “Yeah, I think that when the going gets tough, real Americans start getting out their daily planners and rearranging their schedules.”

    *cough* Reagan *cough* Lebanon *cough* 

    “Remember, persistence is for stupid people…”

    Well, yes, if such persistence is used towards an unrealistic or unachievable goal…common sense from you twice in one day…a rare thing, indeed…

  15. anjin-san says:

    Yeah, I think that when the going gets tough, real Americans start getting out their daily planners and rearranging their schedules
    Hmm. And what does a he man such as yourself do? Oh, right. You talk tough on a blog, while sitting in safety and comfort in your home. A true right winger you are, yes?
    We are bleeding real blood and national treasure in Afghanistan. That pooch was screwed many years ago, when Bush let Bin Laden slip away and then went off to chase windmills in Iraq.
    Tell us Juneau, what is the end game in Afghanistan? What is a realistic roadmap for getting there?