Six In Ten Americans Say Afghan War Not Worth Fighting

On the same day that President Obama is set to release the latest review of Afghan War progress, a new ABC News poll shows that public support for the war has plummeted to Iraq War levels:

A record 60 percent of Americans say the war in Afghanistan has not been worth fighting, a grim assessment — and a politically hazardous one — in advance of the Obama administration’s one-year review of its revised strategy.

Public dissatisfaction with the war, now the nation’s longest, has spiked by 7 points just since July. Given its costs vs. its benefits, only 34 percent in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll say the war’s been worth fighting, down by 9 points to a new low, by a sizable margin.

Negative views of the war for the first time are at the level of those recorded for the war in Iraq, whose unpopularity dragged George W. Bush to historic lows in approval across his second term. On average from 2005 through 2009, 60 percent called that war not worth fighting, the same number who say so about Afghanistan now. (It peaked at 66 percent in April 2007.)

In retrospect, one wonders if the surge in public support for the War in Afghanistan was really nothing more than a effect of the negative opinion that the public had at the time for the Iraq War. President Obama seemed to pick up on this idea with his campaign theme that we had spent five years of the Bush Administration concentrating on the wrong war and his promise that he would focus on fighting al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Two years later, with results no different than they were in 2008 and casualties mounting, the public mood is souring. For Obama, this means that a strategy that is focused on an end goal would seem to be a necessity at this point.

FILED UNDER: Asia, Military Affairs, National Security, Quick Takes, US Politics, World Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held 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 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.