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If the US Were a Democracy, the Wars Would Be Over


October 4, 2011

A new CBS poll finds 62% of Americans opposed to wars in Afghanistan and Iraq but a top US General is unimpressed. General John Allen, the new commander of the Afghanistan occupation tells America: "We're going to be here for a long time."

http://news.antiwar.com/2011/10/03/gen-allen-disavows-2014-us-going-to-stay-in-afghanistan-for-a-long-time/

If the US Were a Democracy,
The Afghan and Iraq Occupations Would Be Over


Results of CBS Poll
Poll: Most want taxes on millionaires increased
Poll: Views of Congress (again) hit new low
Poll: 7 in 10 say Obama has not helped economy
Poll: Just 1 in 5 Americans happy with direction of country
Poll: Half of US says Afghan war not a success


Gen. Allen Disavows 2014:
US Going to Stay in Afghanistan ‘For a Long Time'

Jason Ditz / Antiwar.com

WASHINGTON (October 3, 2011) -- Fresh off of CBS releasing a new poll showing overwhelming American opposition to continuing the war in Afghanistan US General John Allen, the new commander of the occupation, rejected the prospect of the war ending any time soon.

Indeed, in an interview with CBS' 60 Minutes, Gen. Allen disavowed the 2014 Lisbon Conference date for ending the war, saying "we're actually going to be here for a long time" and that the troop levels beyond 2014 were yet to be decided.

Allen, who replaced Gen. Petraeus as commander of the Afghan War and became the fourth commander since President Obama took office in 2009, did not offer the usual collection of "foolproof" strategy changes designed to turn the tides in the endless conflict.

"The plan is to win," was all Allen would offer. This either speaks to a lack of confidence in the latest strategy shift, or perhaps more likely a lack of any strategy whatsoever as the war has a momentum of its own and, with the war planned to extend through 2024, the general likely realizes there will be a dozen or more commanders that will come after him and that what he does won't matter all that much.



62% of Americans Want Immediate Troop Cuts in Afghanistan
Jason Ditz / Antiwar.com

NEW YORK (October 3, 2011) -- A new CBS News poll on American public sentiment toward the Afghan War, which is approaching its 10th anniversary, shows overwhelming opposition on a number of fronts, with strong majorities demanding immediate troop cuts and overwhelming majorities opposed to continuing the conflict much longer.

The poll showed 62 percent of Americans want immediate troop cuts, with only 24 percent content to keep levels where they are and 7 percent open to an increase.

Other questions showed that the number who want major, immediate cuts has increased from July of 2010, with only 28 percent of Americans willing to have large numbers of troops remaining in Afghanistan for more than two additional years.

A "two additional year" window isn't going to do the Obama Administration much good, particularly with officials trying to set up a deal to keep troops in Afghanistan through 2024. The overwhelming opposition seems to be coming to a head, and is something which will need to be addressed sooner, rather than later.


Poll: Nearly 2 in 3 want Troops in Afghanistan Decreased
Stephanie Condon / CBS News

NEW YORK (October 3, 2011) -- CBS News Poll analysis by the CBS News Polling Unit: Sarah Dutton, Jennifer De Pinto, Fred Backus and Anthony Salvanto.

After 10 years of war in Afghanistan, nearly two-thirds of Americans want troop levels in the country to be reduced, a new CBS News poll shows.

Sixty-two percent said troop levels should be decreased immediately, according to the poll, conducted Sept. 28 - Oct. 2. Twenty-four percent want troop levels kept the same for now, while 7 percent want them increased. In 2009, as discussions to deploy additional troops to Afghanistan were underway, about a third supported increasing the number of US troops there.

Americans were also asked when they think large numbers of troops should come home. The percentage who want large numbers to return from Afghanistan within a year stands at 38 percent, up from 33 percent in July 2010. Another 24 percent said they'd be willing to have troops there for one to two more years. Ten percent said they'd accept two to five more years, while 18 percent said they'd be willing to have troops there "as long as it takes," down from 26 percent in summer 2010.

President Obama deployed a 30,000-troop "surge" in Afghanistan in 2009. This past summer, he committed to pulling out 10,000 troops by the end of this year and another 23,000 by September 2012. That would leave roughly 68,000 American troops in Afghanistan to continue the decade-long war.

To mark the 10th anniversary of the war's beginning this week, "CBS Evening News" anchor and managing editor Scott Pelley is broadcasting reports on the war from Kandahar, Afghanistan, on Monday and Tuesday nights.

Just one in three Americans believe fighting there is the right thing for the US to do, the poll shows, while 57 percent think the US should not be involved in Afghanistan - similar to views last June. While Democrats and independents largely say the US should not be involved there, a slim majority of Republicans, 51 percent, say it's the right thing to do.

Mr. Obama receives better marks for his handling of the war in Afghanistan than he does for his handling of domestic issues such as the economy. But even on that issue, fewer than half approve of his performance. In May, his approval rating on the issue rose to 61 percent after the killing of Osama bin Laden; it now stands at 47 percent, while 36 percent disapprove.

In the wake of the killing of bin Laden, US objectives in Afghanistan are unclear to more than four in 10 Americans. Fifty percent of Americans say they do have a clear idea of US goals there, but nearly as many, 43 percent, do not. More Republicans than Democrats or independents say they have a clear idea of US goals there.

Clarity about US goals in Afghanistan impacts views on whether the US should be fighting there. Fifty percent of those who say they have a clear idea of US goals think the US is right in fighting there, but that drops to just 18 percent among those who do not have a clear idea of US goals.

Military action against Afghanistan was begun in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Ten years later, Americans are mixed when it comes to the war's impact on terrorism directed at the United States. As many as 47 percent think it has made the US safer from terrorism. However, 40 percent think it has had no impact, and 10 percent say it has made the US less safe.

The public's views on the war's success are mixed. Fifty percent of Americans think the war in Afghanistan has not been a success for the US, while just 39 percent think it has been.

A majority of Americans, 53 percent, thinks the war in Afghanistan is going badly for the US - but that's been the case for years now.

Looking back, there is no consensus about what the US ought to have done about Afghanistan. Thirty-nine percent think the US was right to remove the Taliban from power and remain in Afghanistan to help stabilize the country. Nearly as many, 32 percent, think the US ought to have removed the Taliban from power and then left afterwards. One in four thinks the US ought not to have gotten involved there at all.

Once US troops leave, 28 percent of Americans expect there to be more violence in Afghanistan, but 52 percent think the level of violence will not change.

More from the poll:
Poll: Most want taxes on millionaires increased
Poll: Views of Congress (again) hit new low
Poll: 7 in 10 say Obama has not helped economy
Poll: Just 1 in 5 Americans happy with direction of country
Poll: Half of US says Afghan war not a success
Read the complete poll (PDF)

This poll was conducted by telephone from September 28-October 2, 2011 among 1,012 adults nationwide. Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard land-line and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for subgroups is higher. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

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