Support For Afghan War in U.S. Drops Sharply, Polls Show

After a series of violent episodes and setbacks, support for the war in Afghanistan has dropped sharply among U.S. citizens.

Support for the Afghan War has dropped precipitously, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll released Monday. Photo: The U.S. Army/Flickr

The latest New York Times/CBS News poll indicates that support for the Afghan War in the U.S. has dropped significantly.

The result of the survey show that more than two-thirds of people polled — 69 percent — think that the United States should not be at war in Afghanistan, reports The New York Times.

Just four months ago, 53 percent said that Americans should no longer be fighting in the conflict, more than a decade old.

The results of the poll come after the shooting of 17 Afghan civilians this month, allegedly committed by Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who has been charged by the military with 17 counts of murder, six counts of attempted murder and six counts of assault, tells The Huff Post.

The poll finds that 68 percent of people think that the fighting is going “somewhat badly” or “very badly,” compared with 42 percent who had those impressions in November.

The Times/CBS News poll was consistent with other surveys this month that showed a drop in support for the war.

A Washingtona Post poll conducted before the Afghan killings, but after burned Qurans were found at Bagram Air Base and after American soldiers were caught urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban fighters, found that 60 percent said the war not worth fighting.

More Americans lacked a clear idea of why the U.S. was still in Afghanistan. When asked why the U.S. was still there following the death of Osama Bin Laden, 55 percent did not know, up from 43 percent last fall.

In a Gallup/USA Today poll, 50 percent of respondents said the United States should speed up the withdrawal from Afghanistan.

A plurality of 44 percent think that troops should be withdrawn sooner than 2014, when the U.S. is scheduled to withdraw all of its troops and hand over control to Afghan forces. One-third of respondents agree with the 2014 timeline, while 17 percent want to stay.

Negative impressions of the war have grown among Republicans as well as Democrats, polls show.

60 percent of Republicans said the war was going somewhat or very badly, compared with 40 percent in November.

And 68 percent of Democrats said the war was going somewhat or very badly, compared with 38 percent in November.

At the same time Republicans are divided over when to leave, with a plurality, 40 percent, saying the United States should withdraw earlier than the end of 2014, when under an agreement with the Afghan government all American troops are to be out of the country.

The drop in Republican support for the war mirrors reassessments of the war among the party’s presidential candidates, traditionally more hawkish than Democrats.

Republican presidentian contender Newt Gingrich declared this month that it was time to leave Afghanistan, while Rick Santorum said that one option would be to withdraw even earlier than the Obama administration’s timeline.

Republican race leader Mitt Romney has been more equivocal, although he said last summer that it was “time for us to bring our troops home as soon as we possibly can, as soon as our generals think it’s O.K.”

“I think we should speed up when we’re bringing our troops home,” said Melisa Clemmons, 52, a Republican and a coordinator for a wireless carrier system from Summerville, S.C.

“If we’ve been there as many years as we’ve been there, what’s another two years going to get us?” she said. “These Afghanistan people are turning around and shooting our people. Why is it taking this long for the Afghan troops to be policing themselves?”

Share this article

We welcome comments that advance the story directly or with relevant tangential information. We try to block comments that use offensive language, all capital letters or appear to be spam, and we review comments frequently to ensure they meet our standards. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Coinspeaker Ltd.