17% of Americans Support Afghanistan War: CNN (Video of the Day)

(By Juan Cole)

A CNN/ ORC International poll has found that only 17% of Americans support the war in Afghanistan. That is down from 52% in 2008.

82% of Americans are against the war.

Other recent polls found that 57% of Americans think the US was wrong to go into Afghanistan in the first place, and two-thirds said that they didn’t think the war had been worth fighting.

The war has left 3400 Americans dead, though not all of those were troops killed in action.

Nearly 20,000 Americans have been wounded in Afghanistan badly enough to go to hospital, and several hundred thousand have suffered concussion because of things like improvised explosive devices going off near them.

The war has cost at least half a trillion dollars, and more trillions will be racked up over the next 50 years for medical care for the wounded veterans (as it should be, but everyone should be aware of all the costs).

CNN video report here:

The CNN video interviews a general who warns of the country falling back into the hands of terrorists.

But let us face it, if an 11-year war can’t remedy the situation there, a 15-year war is unlikely to. The American public is long-suffering, but likes its wars to be over in 4 years the way the world wars were. Forever wars, hard to sustain.

10 Responses

  1. There must be some strategic game going on there again and Afghanistan (which was cobbled together as a buffer state between British India and Czarist Russia) is used as a chessboard to play this game.

    Why else didn’t Obama seize the opportunity to leave Afghanistan with dignity when Karzai gave him a chance?

    • He did: he’s just leaving slowly, but inexorably, as he did in Iraq.

      The pace of a military withdrawal, as executed by a competent Commander in Chief, is a function of practical considerations, not an expression of one’s opinion about the wisdom of that war. President Obama took almost three years to get out of Iraq, and he certainly never supported that operation.

      • “President Obama took almost three years to get out of Iraq.”

        Huh? Didn’t the Iraqi Parliament ratify a status of forces agreement with the US (2-3 months before Obama took office) that called for the withdrawal of all US troops by the end of 2011?

        As for Afghanistan, I’m of the opinion (and perhaps so is Karzai) that Obama wants to keep his fingers in Afghanistan in the long run. Heck, Kerry is trying to
        bypass Karzai and instead have one of his ministers sign the pact.

        So why the interest there? By having a secure base, you get to project power in the region and you get to contain Iran, China, Russia and most importantly, Pakistan (an unstable, nuclear armed country whose military has played the role of midwife to terrorist groups).

        Of course, I could be so wrong in my opinion but there’s also the possibility that Karzai already signed the pact and this is all bluster for internal consumption.

        • I have a “Huh?” too. What does your question have to do with what I wrote?

          We were discussing the execution, and speed, of a withdrawal policy. What does the Iraqi Parliament’s and Bush’s agreement have to do with how quickly the Obama administration executed the withdrawal?

          So why the interest there? By having a secure base, you get to project power in the region and you get to contain Iran, China, Russia and most importantly, Pakistan

          Not through the type of “fingers” the administration is talking about keeping there. You project power in a region with the types of bases and garrisons the Bush administration intended for Iraq – large concentrations of ground forces numbering in the tens of thousands, major air bases with substantial fighter, bomber, and attack units stationed there. A few thousand trainers and advisors do not project power and check the People’s Republic of China. A “force” like that is used to prop up a friendly government’s military and maintain good relations, not project power throughout a region. They’ll be lucky if they can project power beyond Kabul.

    • To be honest, I believe asking or sticking to withdrawal dates has a big downside.
      What “employee” ( military personnel) wants to be asked to leave ?
      That shows you cannot justify your job, paycheck, benefits and home on a base somewhere.
      Think. We have a huge “military welfare” .
      That is just a job and our government is just scared to call them home and stop their paychecks.
      Wouldn’t you also be scared of trained killers coming home with no paycheck?
      We cannot cut our military expenses if we wanted to. We are all too scared to “Just say no” to military spending.

  2. And yes, Bill, COIN and “nation-building” are bad ideas, but as far as I can see they are just arbitrary categorizations of parts of a seamless web of Imperial “behavior” and “policy.” All related to “the business of the US is business,” carried out by a variety of means overlying the basic nature of us human beasts, too many of whom live for self-gratification and power over others and the thrill, or grim and dogged identity-“validating” self-satisfactions, of the Game…

  3. Read Ann Jones’ new book “They Were Soldiers” to understand how some of the US troops “defending our freedoms” had to spend the rest of their lives.

  4. This is the reverse of the situation when the war began. In 2001, 80 percent of us supported a ground war in Afghanistan. If it was a mistake, we share the blame.

  5. The Sixties have long been gone, Ann, and branding the young men and women in the volunteer armed forces as “trained killers coming home with no paycheck ” does a great disservice to the sacrifices they and their family members have made serving their country. I served as a medical corpsman in Vietnam and saw the human face of war on the wounded grunts and the wounded Vietnamese civilians. War is a tragedy, and the soldiers who fight these wars are just as much victims as the innocent civilians. And we have a volunteer armed forces now,because President Richard Nixon instituted a lottery to replace the draft to defuse the anti-war movement back in the States during the Vietnam War . What is really ironic is that the men and women in Congress and the Senate were mostly the very baby boomers who avoided the draft yet had no moral qualms about sending someone else’s sons and and daughters off to two military misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq. And that includes even fellow Vietnam veterans such as former Senator John Kerry, former Senator Chuck Hagel and Senator John McCain, who seemed to have forgotten the painful lessons of the Vietnam War. And let’s not forgot other war hawks such as former President George W. Bush, who hid out in the Texas Air National Guard, and former Vice President Dick Cheney, who had “other priorities” and got four or five deferments during the Vietnam War. And let’s not forget former Senator Hillary Clinton, who is a war hawk even though her husband also avoided the draft in his youth. So once again using tying the military to the political whipping post, as you clearly have in your comment, really overlooks the vacuum of moral leadership inside the Beltway Bubble after the 9/11 attacks.

  6. “and two-thirds said that they didn’t think the war had not been worth fighting.”

    Hi Juan, I think this is a typo. I think you meant to write something like: “Two-thirds of those questioned in an ABC News/Washington Post poll said the war has not been worth fighting” as it is in the CNN link

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