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June 28, 2010

Here's Another Reason For Obama To Be Worried About Afghanistan
Posted by Michael Cohen

Remember when progressives used to say during the Iraq War that no democracy can fight a foreign war when public opinion is opposed to it . . . well it might be time to dust off those old talking points.

According to the latest Newsweek poll, support for the war in Afghanistan and President Obama's handling of it is in steep decline. A mere 37% of American approve of Obama's management of the war and 53% are opposed. Even worse, only 26% of Americans think we're winning in Afghanistan while just under a majority (46%) think we're losing. (The shocking stat here is that one quarter of all Americans actually think we're winning.)

And this is a sharp decline from the poll results we were seeing at the beginning of the month when an ABC/Washington Post poll showed 42% who thought we were winning the war and 39% who said we were losing.

And this appears to be affecting people's views on the war on terror with 43% saying we're losing it and 29% saying we're ahead. Considering that two recent terrorist attacks against the US were foiled (and were bumbling efforts), we haven't been hit in 9 years by a terrorist attack and Leon Panetta just got done saying on TV that al Qaeda is at its weakest point since 9/11 . . . well that is a stunning poll result.

And as George Bush and John McCain can tell you; once the public decides that a war is lost it's very difficult to bring them back around again. If ever there was a time to consider a change in strategy it would be right now - declining poll numbers, new general, concern in Congress etc. The fact that Obama seems to be stubbornly adhering to a policy that very few people outside of the government seem to think is working should be a huge area of concern, particularly for progressives. After all doubling down on a failing policy traditionally has not worked out well for Democrats with ambitious domestic agendas.


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So what should the new strategy be?

What we can't tell from the poll is what percentage of people think (a) the war is worthwhile and winnable, but Obama is currently bungling it and losing it versus (b) the war is either not worthwhile or not winnable, no matter what Obama does.

I'm afraid that Afghanistan will become the same disaster for Obama that Vietnam was for LBJ - political death. The issue of the war will undermine any efforts on domestic legislation.

It will be easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved and IGNORANT electorate WILLING to have such a man for their president.

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