Support For Afghanistan War Plummets

Andrew Sullivan —  Mar 28 2012 @ 11:53am

69 percent are tired of fighting:

The new low represents the crossing of a certain psychological and cultural threshold. It means the Afghanistan war is now at least as unpopular as the Iraq war was at the height of public ire. In fact, by some measures, the war to beat the Taliban — the guys who gave safe harbor to the 9/11 terrorists — is now more unpopular than the one to get rid of Saddam and his alleged stockpiles of WMDs.

It's a farce we are still asking young men and women to die for. When the troops we are training are actually killing our own soldiers, and when we may well merely be training them to fight a civil war more lethally, we should get out now. Republicans get this, even if their leadership doesn't:

A plurality of Republicans, 41 percent, say that the U.S. should withdraw sooner than the planned withdrawal date in 2014, compared with only 28 who prefer the existing timetable and 29 percent who believe American troops should stay as long as it takes.

In all likelihood, a face-saving period of training the Afghan government forces will continue until at least the election. Then: who knows? The impact of the war on Pakistan has been to intensify what is becoming hysterical anti-Americanism – a factor that will hurt us in the war against Jihadism. And with al Qaeda wiped out and bin Laden dead, Americans are not exactly thrilled to be nation-building in Afghanistan. Nor should they be. It's like planting daffodils on Mars. Friedersdorf wonders if Obama will pay a price:

You'd think that voters would punish an incumbent who doubled down on an unpopular war that a majority now regards as a harmful mistake. But certain factors may mitigate any anti-Obama backlash: He didn't start the war; at the time, most Americans agreed with his renewed focus on it; he can plausibly argue that our beefed up presence helped to get Osama bin Laden; and most importantly, Mitt Romney doesn't inspire any confidence that he'd do better.

In fact, Romney's current position in the primaries seems to be to keep fighting in Afghanistan for ever. Shake, shake.