Afghanistan War Increasingly Unpopular; Former Iraq Allies Near Revolt

October 18th, 2010 - by admin

Jason Ditz / – 2010-10-18 00:06:29

CNN Poll: Afghan War More Unpopular Than Ever

CNN Poll: Afghan War More Unpopular Than Ever
Jason Ditz /

(October 15, 2010) — As it enters its 10th year, support for the ongoing War in Afghanistan has reached a new low today, with a new CNN/ORC poll showing only 37% of Americans approving of the conflict at this point, down from 44% just two months ago.

The polling data also revealed that 52% of Americans believe that the war has turned into another Vietnam, a belief which is likely a function of massive escalations by the Obama Administration and the subsequent record death tolls among US troops.

Though the war has not been a popular once at all during the Obama Administration’s first term, it did see a minor bounce after the December escalation announcement, which came with a July 2011 drawdown date that some saw as the beginning of an exit from the nation.

As officials have disavowed the date and violence has risen precipitously, however, that bounce (which saw 53% approval in the early spring) evaporated and opposition toward the war has grown.

Despite Americans being firmly in opposition to the war, however, it isn’t much of a political issue according to recent polls. The CNN poll showed only 9% thought the wars were an issue, while a New York Times poll showed only 3% thought it was.

Rather Americans are focusing chiefly on the shabby state of the domestic economy, and sadly have yet to notice any link between the economic downturn and the massive overseas adventures.

With large numbers of key politicians also squarely on the side of continuous war, neither issue will likely be address until the voting public manages to put two and two together and realizes the link between the major expense of overseas occupations and a domestic government struggling to make ends meet.

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Disillusioned US Allies in Iraq Rejoin Insurgency
Jason Ditz /

(October 17, 2010) — Having faced persecution since they were turned over from US to Iraqi governmental control, the Sunni militias known as the Awakening Councils have become increasingly angered by their treatment under the Maliki government, and are increasingly in outright revolt.

The groups were recruited away from the insurgency by the US with pledges of funding and eventual transition into the national security forces, but by and large they have not gotten those jobs and have remained in the position of quasi-legal militias, nominally allied with the government but increasingly distrusted, and distrusting.

Now, officals say hundreds have left to rejoin the insurgency, and that thousands of those which stayed are collecting checks while serving insurgent interests.

Though the list of grievances is long, it seems the election results are what pushed many over the edge. Iraq’s Sunni voters overwhelmingly supported the secularist Iraqiya bloc of Ayad Allawi, and the bloc won a surprising plurality in the March election. Yet in the end, the first place finisher in the election seems destined to win up in the opposition, with the Shi’ite religious blocs forming a government without them.

And while Iraq already had a Shi’ite dominated government, Sunni blocs had minor but meaningful positions as Vice President and Parliamentary speaker. Despite doing far better in the election this time around, they may end up losing either or both positions, further cementing the opinion of many that the nation’s Sunni Arab minority has no political voice.

Though it seems difficult to argue that point after the most recent vote, the more pressing issue is not political, but practical, as the insurgency may find itself with a growing number of experienced recruits, ones which were armed and funding by the US.

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