Support in U.S. for Afghan war drops sharply, poll finds

The New York Times reports: After a series of violent episodes and setbacks, support for the war in Afghanistan has dropped sharply among both Republicans and Democrats, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

The survey found that more than two-thirds of those polled — 69 percent —thought that the United States should not be at war in Afghanistan. Just four months ago, 53 percent said that Americans should no longer be fighting in the conflict, more than a decade old.

The increased disillusionment was even more pronounced when respondents were asked their impressions of how the war was going. The poll found that 68 percent thought the fighting was going “somewhat badly” or “very badly,” compared with 42 percent who had those impressions in November 2011.

The latest poll was conducted by telephone from March 21 to 25 with 986 adults nationwide. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

The Times/CBS News poll was consistent with other surveys this month that showed a drop in support for the war. In a Washington Post/ABC News poll, 60 percent of respondents said the war in Afghanistan had not been worth the fighting, while 57 percent in a Pew Research Center poll said that the United States should bring home American troops as soon as possible. In a Gallup/USA Today poll, 50 percent of respondents said the United States should speed up the withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Negative impressions of the war have grown among Republicans as well as Democrats, according to the Times/CBS News poll. Among Republicans, 60 percent said the war was going somewhat or very badly, compared with 40 percent in November. Among Democrats, 68 percent said the war was going somewhat or very badly, compared with 38 percent in November. But the poll found that Republicans were more likely to want to stay in Afghanistan for as long as it would take to stabilize the situation: 3 in 10 said the United States should stay, compared with 2 in 10 independents and 1 in 10 Democrats.

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One thought on “Support in U.S. for Afghan war drops sharply, poll finds

  1. Tom Hall

    Over time, imperial wars and the forms of social organization behind them lose popular support. Citizen volunteers are replaced by mass conscription, which in turn gives way to a system of mercenary enrollment- professional army, highly paid civilian contractors. The latter stage places the greatest, though sometimes hidden strain on the bonds of national unity. It is hard to grieve over Blackwater gunmen, or to give lifelong adherence to a policy whose aim consists of the diversion of public wealth into an array of private armies fighting for corporate dominance.

    Of course, the lower ranks of today’s US military amounts to a conscripted force, driven to enlist by poverty, racism, and general lack of opportunity. Promises of citizenship, access to higher education and other benefits taken for granted in democratic societies, lure the young to the battlefield. Ultimately the entire structure of rapine and repression depends on greater restriction of liberty in the “homeland”- itself a classic imperial turn of phrase.

    When the youth of America see their best hope for a future chained to a capitalist war machine, an historical turning point is near. The whole enterprise becomes self-contradictory, rupturing the political conditions necessary to sustain the empire itself- a reasonably contented populace, an economy that shares out the plunder, generalized consent to the imperial mission, and so on. And as has been seen countless times in the past, an empire at its zenith is one whose decline has already begun.

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