The NY Times reports that Americans are quickly souring on the war in Afghanistan:
After a series of violent episodes and setbacks, support for the war in Afghanistan has dropped sharply among both Republicans and Democrats, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.
The survey found that more than two-thirds of those polled — 69 percent — thought that the United States should not be at war in Afghanistan. Just four months ago, 53 percent said that Americans should no longer be fighting in the conflict, more than a decade old.
This isn’t surprising. If the commander in chief doesn’t defend the war and make a case for his chosen strategy, the American public has little else to go on but the most garish of headlines. Afghanistan was supposed to be the “good war” that this administration wasn’t going to neglect as — it charged — the Bush administration had done. Yet today, the only thing coming from the Obama administration on the subject is radio silence.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: the president has a duty to talk about the war — to explain to the American people why we are fighting, what we hope to accomplish, and why there is reason to believe that we can succeed. If the chosen strategy has run into obstacles, that is what war is about. Presidents are not infallible and war fighting involves flexibility and realism as well as courage and commitment. But the President seems to be conducting his administration as if the war weren’t happening. It is something to be swept under the rug, ignored, deprecated — and, on the current course, lost.
If the President can’t or won’t explain the war and defend his strategy, withdrawal, and not in the best of circumstances, becomes inevitable. And considering that this war has undeniably become his war — chosen by this president as a “war of necessity” that he pledged in his campaign to win, and went on to fight with his deliberately designed, hand-crafted strategy — such a turn of events will likely not help his campaign for re-election, much less his place in history.