America Slowly Sours On Afghanistan


Paul Waldman is pleased that a plurality of Americans now see the war in Afghanistan as a mistake:

We’ve now amassed over 2,300 American dead there, in addition to the hundreds of billions of dollars we’ve spent. We didn’t get Osama bin Laden when we invaded. Our “partner” Hamid Karzai increasingly looks like he has lost his mind and is determined to make sure that when American troops leave later this year, the country will promptly get taken over by the Taliban again. So it isn’t too surprising that so many Americans are asking what the whole thing was for.

But it has taken us an unusually long time to come to that conclusion:

Just take a look at Gallup’s polling data from the four major U.S. wars since 1950. In comparison, the Afghanistan conflict actually took quite a long time for a plurality of Americans to consider it a mistake.

It took two years or less for public opinion to turn on the wars in Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq. The 12-plus it took for Afghanistan is practically a lifetime. And when you track the course of the Afghanistan War’s popularity compared to the Iraq War’s, it appears much more stable (and higher overall). Support for the Iraq war has fluctuated since mid-2004, and a majority of Americans have considered it a mistake since 2007.