Support For Afghan War Hits All-Time Low
A new poll indicates that support for the war in Afghanistan is at an all-time low:
Only 28 percent of Americans say the war in Afghanistan has been worth fighting, the lowest number on record and clearly below the least-popular stretches of the Iraq war, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Overall support for U.S. military operations in Afghanistan has dropped 11 percentage points since March, a precipitous fall during a period marked by tension between U.S. officials and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, a spring and summer resurgence in Taliban attacks, and the failure of ballyhooed peace talks with insurgents to get off the ground.
The drop in approval was matched by an 11-point increase, to 67 percent, in those who say the war has not been worth fighting.
The numbers come as Congress has moved to cut President Obama’s budget request for operations in Afghanistan, and the administration is reportedly leaving open the possibility of withdrawing all troops by the end of next year, when combat forces are scheduled to pull out.
Declining support crosses demographic and party lines, with double-digit drops among men and women, whites and non-whites, Democrats, Republicans and independents.
While Republicans generally remain more supportive than Democrats, their approval has collapsed at a faster rate in recent years.
Fewer than half of Americans — 43 percent — say that the Afghan war has contributed to long-term U.S. security, the first time that number has dipped below 50 percent in the past four years.
With the war itself clearly on a trajectory now where it is winding down, at least as far as U.S. involvement is concerned, and the possibility being floated that the U.S. may end up not having any presence in the country after 2014 at all, it will be interesting to see what impact a decade of two incredibly unpopular wars will have on the future direction of U.S. foreign policy. Some have suggested that it has laid the groundwork for renewed popularity for a more non-interventionist foreign policy direction for the country. Perhaps that’s the case. Personally, I’ll be happy if it just means that the American people become more questioning of the assertions of their so-called leaders when they tell us that we “must” intervene in this country or that because of some alleged danger. If it means making fewer mistakes like Iraq and the Afghanistan surge, then that will be a good thing.