Tuesday, August 3, 2010
American support for Afghan war slips
By GARY BAUMGARTEN
Paltalk News Network
A new Gallup poll finds that 43 percent of Americans - a new high - feel that the war in Afghanistan was a mistake.
This isn't a majority of course - at least not yet. But we're inching in that direction.
The release of the poll coincides with President Obama's speech Monday before the Disabled American Veterans. A speech in which he was warmly applauded and cheered when he announced the timetable for the end of the combat mission in Iraq was on schedule - for the end of the month.
I don't know if the invasion of Afghanistan really was a mistake. Not if it was - as announced - to get Osama bin Laden. But like the war in Iraq, the mission has changed. No longer is the military really concentrating its efforts on finding bin Laden. Instead, it's rooting out the Taliban insurgency that threatens the U.S.-backed government in Kabul.
In other words - like in Iraq where the mission changed when it was discovered there were no WMDs - the U.S. Army is in the business of nation building in Afghanistan.
This was not what was sold to the American people when the U.S. invaded in October, 2001.
And therein lies the problem.
When you send brave American men and women to war - you should at least have to justify clearly to the people why you're doing it. It seems that whatever justification there was has evaporated. And that there is no defense - really - for this invasion and the number of lives on both sides that have been taken.
No wonder the American people are losing patience with this war.
The White House and the Pentagon should be mindful that you can't win a war without the support of the people back home. That should signal to the policy makers that perhaps the same kind of draw drawn in Afghanistan as is underway in Iraq is in order. Sooner, rather than later.