Poll Shows Slipping Support for War in Afghanistan
By Matt Southworth on 03/28/2012 @ 02:10 PM
Events in Afghanistan over the last several months have driven U.S. support for the decade-long war to an all-time low. U.S. General John Allen, who testified to the House and Senate Armed Service Committees last week, pushed back on criticism, telling both committees that the war is on track.
Yet to many Americans, the war seems completely off track. A recent New York Times/CBS poll found that 69% of respondents don’t believe the U.S. should be involved in Afghanistan anymore (that’s up from 53% a year ago). The Pentagon remains undeterred by the recent numbers on Afghanistan war support. Secretary of Defense Panetta recently said, “We cannot fight wars by polls. If we do that we’re in deep trouble. We have to operate based on what we believe is the best strategy to achieve the mission that we are embarked on.”
Here is the harsh reality: public and congressional support are at all-time lows; peace talks with the Taliban are both flawed and stalled; and the Counterinsurgency (COIN) strategy which was supposed to protect the civilian population and stand up a legitimate government has failed to provide basic security and has undermined stability in an increasingly troubled region of the world.
As key policy decisions are made over the next few months, it is time to push the Obama administration to withdraw U.S. troops. Under the current strategy, it doesn’t matter if the U.S. leaves tomorrow, in 2014 or in 2024, as the current strategy is incapable of quelling violence or providing for a stable transition.
Without a substantive policy change—switching the focus from war to robust, inclusive political negotiations predicated on ending the conflict, not a Strategic Partnership Agreement—there will be very dark days ahead for Afghanistan.