Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Declining Public Support for Afghanistan

USA Today reports on the erosion of public support for the U.S. deployment in Afghanistan.

It turns out that 42 percent of Americans now say the decision to send American forces to Afghanistan in 2001 was "a mistake," and that figure is up 12 percentage points since last month. While a majority of 52 percent continues to hold the Afghan war as the right decision,
a look at the graphic shows just how much public backing has declined since the Bush administration sent troops to topple the Taliban regime in November 2001. The erosion of support is due to war fatigue and the perception of declining military fortunes in the conflict. And much of what happens next will depend on the direction of foreign policy under the Obama administration.

Bret Stephens, at the
Wall Street Journal, elaborates on this last point, placing declining support in Afghanistan in partisan context:

It was probably inevitable that the American left would turn sharply against the war in Afghanistan the moment it was politically opportune. Still, the speed with which it has done so has been breathtaking.

Time was when the received bipartisan and trans-Atlantic wisdom about Afghanistan was that it was the necessary war, the good war, the no-choice-but-to-fight and can't-afford-to-lose war, and that not least of everything that made the invasion and occupation of Iraq such arrant folly was that it distracted us from "finishing the job" in the place where the attacks of 9/11 were conceived and planned.

This was the wisdom candidate Barack Obama was merely regurgitating when, in an August 2007 speech, he promised that his priority as president would be "getting out of Iraq and on to the right battlefield in Afghanistan and Pakistan." True to his word, he has now ordered the deployment of 17,000 additional soldiers to that battlefield.

So why are the people who cheered Mr. Obama then (or offered no objection) now running for the exit signs? Why, for example, is New York Times columnist Bob Herbert, the paper's reliably liberal tribune, calling Afghanistan a "quagmire" - after denouncing the Bush administration in 2006 for "taking its eye off the real enemy in Afghanistan"?

Call it another instance of that old logic, reductio ad Vietnam. That's the view that every U.S. military action lasting more than the flight time of a cruise missile is likely to descend into a bloody, stalemated, morally and politically intolerable Sartrean nightmare.
Read Stephens' piece in full, at the link.

See also, Tom Maguire, "
Closing In On Defeat."


Gayle said...

Interesting turn of events, isn't it, Donald? Obama broadcast his intentions regarding Afghanistan loud and clear and his sending more troops to Afghanistan is about the only promise he made that he has kept! It shouldn't have surprised anyone. Maybe they weren't really listening? Or perhaps they just figured he was lying in order to win the election? Who knows? Not me! I'll never be able to figure out how the liberals think.

AmPowerBlog said...

Yes, Gayle!

Thanks for visiting!

Average American said...

A large chunk of the American population have turned into a bunch of lilly-livered pussies. Where would we be now if they had done this during either of the world wars? Speaking German or Japanese, that's where! I blame the press. War does NOT belong in the living room. PERIOD!

AmPowerBlog said...

Well, I agree AA. It's too bad sometimes, but that the kind of environment we have to deal with...

joe six-pack said...

The press has always been VERY stong in political news and facts of the day. However, the analysis of wartime activity has always been the press greatest weakness. The most fundamental concepts and understandings are either erroneous or just wrong.