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Sharp Drop in Support for Afghan War

March 29, 2012 by  


By Joel Roberts

AFGHANISTAN/
A male insurgent is presented to the media in Laghman province, March 28, 2012.           REUTERS/Parwiz

Support for the war in Afghanistan is slipping fast, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll released Monday. More than two-thirds of those surveyed, 69 percent, think the United States should no longer be fighting, a 16 percent jump from just four months ago.

A similar number, 68 percent, say the war effort is going either “very badly” or “somewhat badly,” a big increase from 42 percent in the last poll in November.

Nearly half of Americans think the timetable for pulling U.S troops out of Afghanistan should be moved up. Forty-four percent say U.S. forces should leave before the Obama administration’s planned withdrawal by the end of 2014, while 33 percent say the U.S. should stick to the current schedule. Seventeen percent say the U.S. should stay “as long as it takes”; 3 percent say the troops should come home now.

The growing disillusionment with the war is shared by both Republicans and Democrats, although Republicans have slightly less negative impressions of how the war is going and are more likely to want the U.S. to stay in Afghanistan.

Just 23 percent of Americans believe the U.S. is doing the right thing by fighting in Afghanistan, the lowest number ever in the survey, according to CBS News.

The sharp falloff in support comes in the wake of a series of troubling incidents for the U.S. in Afghanistan, including the alleged massacre of 17 Afghan civilians by a U.S. Army staff sergeant, and the violence that followed the burning of Korans by NATO personnel.

The poll results are consistent with other recent surveys that show a decrease in support for the war.

President Obama’s Republican rivals have been critical of his handling of Afghanistan, with GOP front-runner Mitt Romney saying he has shown “failed leadership,” but have been vague about their own plans for bringing the war to a conclusion.

The Lookout

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