Public opinion on “The Good War”


Nobel Peace Prize recipient Barack Obama will soon escalate military operations in Afghanistan. The president plans to increase the current force of 68,000 soldiers by at least 10,000 (likely more) and has discounted major withdrawal as an option.

“We are not leaving Afghanistan,” Defense Secretary Robert Gates said. “This discussion is about next steps forward and the president has some momentous decisions to make.”

As we wait for escalation, we’re left to wonder why withdrawal remains off the table. American public opinion on the conflict has soured, and international opinion remains overwhelmingly opposed.

“Majorities or pluralities in 21 of 24 countries want the U.S. and NATO to remove their troops from Afghanistan as soon as possible.” (Pew Research Center)

And, most importantly, a plurality of Afghans want foreign troop levels reduced, with a majority saying attacks against coalition forces are justifiable. Civilian casualties, which number somewhere in the tens of thousands, have contributed to this ill-will and have undoubtedly fueled recruitment for al-Qaeda.

With so many opposed, what drives Obama’s commitment to further engagement? No decisive change can come from an additional 40,000 soldiers – not peace, not stability and not an end to terrorism.

What, then, are we fighting for?


Flickr photo by The U.S. Army


  1. Ian

    “Nobel Peace Prize recipient Barack Obama”

    You’ll get over it.

  2. Clint

    I hope so.

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  1. By EgyTimes :- Delicious BookMarx 18-OCT-2009 on October 19, 2009 at 1:37 am

    […] Public opinion on “The Good War” – Why We Worry […]