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July 15, 2008

Polling on Iraq Vs. Afghanistan
Posted by Ilan Goldenberg

The post seems to have missed the most important number in its national security poll

Do you think the U.S must win the war in [Country] in order for the broader war on terrorism to be a success, or do you think the war on terrorism can be a success without the U.S. winning?

Iraq: 34% must win. 60% can succeed without it
Afghanistan:  51% must win.  42% can succeed without it

This is the most important part of the debate.   It is not about the short-term tactics of timelines.  16,18,20 months.  What matters is the big strategic difference.  McCain thinks that we need to put all of our efforts into Iraq because we can't afford to lose, even if it means sacrificing other security concerns.  Obama says we can't sacrifice everything for Iraq and have to focus on the other threats.  That is the point that he and Democrats have been making for years now.  And on this point the American public overwhelmingly agrees with Obama by a margin of 17 points.  But naturally, as the press always does it misses the big point.

PS.  I'm glad Michael saved me the time of having to take Mike O'Hanlon to task for his comments in the article.


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