Poll: Broad majority of Americans support Afghan drawdown

posted at 12:45 pm on June 29, 2011 by Tina Korbe

By 72 percent to 23 percent, Americans broadly support President Barack Obama’s Afghanistan pullout plan, even though fewer than half agree with specific troop reduction goals, according to a Gallup poll released today.

The poll comes a week after the president’s announcement that he plans to withdraw 10,000 troops by the end of the year and another 20,000 or so by September 2012, at which point withdrawal would continue at an unspecified rate until 2014.

While, in general, those polled approve of that plan, the 30,000 number drew mixed reactions:

The slight majority of Democrats, 57%, say the 30,000 figure is about right; however — in line with vocal criticism of the plan from Rep. Nancy Pelosi and other congressional Democrats who want a more aggressive drawdown — 30% call it too low.

Independents’ reactions are more closely divided: 40% call it about right, 33% too low, and 18% too high. Republicans are the most fractured of all, with about a third saying the withdrawal figure is about right, a third calling it too high, and 20% too low.

Similarly, even though voters agree the United States should begin to withdraw now, they’re still divided about whether an official — and announced — timetable is a good idea.

Americans’ reaction to Obama’s timetable for withdrawing troops could reflect their views on the pace of troop withdrawal as well as their perceptions about the impact that announcing a timetable could have on the U.S. war effort. Perhaps as a result, less than a third (30%) roundly endorse Obama’s timetable, while another third think the troops should be withdrawn sooner and 31% think the U.S. should not set any timetable.

Democrats are the most supportive of the timetable, but not even a majority of Democrats agree with it — just 45 percent. (But that’s because 40 percent prefer an accelerated version.) A slight majority of Republicans — 54 percent — say no timetable should be set in the first place.

Disapproval of the precise timetable aside, the president’s plan is working in just the way he most wanted and needed it to: It’s helping his reelection campaign. For that cause, the president will jeopardize recent successes in Afghanistan. For that cause, he’ll “signal to allies and enemies alike that the United States is more committed to extricating itself from the fight than it is to ensuring that stability in the region is achieved,” as The Heritage Foundation’s Mike Brownfield put it. For that cause, his administration will even lie about Gen. David Petraeus’ withdrawal recommendations. Anything to win the electorate’s approval.

 


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It’s pollapaluzza!!!

lexhamfox on June 29, 2011 at 12:47 PM

“They should just cancel the election now and swear The Messiah in for his second term tomorrow”-Joy Behar

NotCoach on June 29, 2011 at 12:49 PM

I do too, just not based on PBHO’s political calendar and his “gut” feelings. We don’t need to put 150,000 soldiers in the maw because President Bonehead wants to gain a few points in a Gallup survey.

Bishop on June 29, 2011 at 12:49 PM

For that cause, his administration will even lie about Gen. David Petraeus’ withdrawal recommendations. Anything to win the electorate’s approval.

…which is why I would like to see Americans polled on whether they think it is a good idea to go against the recommendations of our military leaders including Petraeus.

You can bet that these numbers will not show as much support for Obama when contrasted with his refusal to listen to his Generals.

The American public trusts our military much more than they do politicians (including the President) when it comes to matters of war.

…..You can also bet these numbers will have changed before the 2012 elections as Afghanistan deteriorates and the public realizes that Obama has thrown away the sacrifices of our Soldiers and billions of dollars for political reasons.
Losing a war is never a net positive and Obama will be held accountable.

Baxter Greene on June 29, 2011 at 12:55 PM

The does the same number support leaving Lybia? I can’t shake this feeling that leaving Afghanistan is going to come back and bite us hard. In the form of more dead Americans.

jawkneemusic on June 29, 2011 at 1:00 PM

At this point in his presidency, I suspect a majority would support an immediate resignation from his post.

Joe Mama on June 29, 2011 at 1:01 PM

…which is why I would like to see Americans polled on whether they think it is a good idea to go against the recommendations of our military leaders including Petraeus.

Indeed. The republican Candidates need to hammer this pointy home as well. Obama LIED about our Military’s recommendations. The public needs to be made aware of this.

jawkneemusic on June 29, 2011 at 1:01 PM

I support the withdrawal of Obama from public office.

search4truth on June 29, 2011 at 1:04 PM

search4truth on June 29, 2011 at 1:04 PM

2nd!

cmsinaz on June 29, 2011 at 1:11 PM

Well duh. Just as many of them want to ensure that it is done at such a time and under conditions that would maintain the victory that we have achieved thus far.

slickwillie2001 on June 29, 2011 at 1:12 PM

A majority of Americans made this delta foxtrot the Commander in Chief of a military he despises, too. Pardon me for finding no comfort in their assessment of anything.

CantCureStupid on June 29, 2011 at 1:14 PM

Federal appeals court in Cincinnati upholds President Barack Obama’s health care law

OT on Drudge no linky at this time

cmsinaz on June 29, 2011 at 1:20 PM

It’s fairly simple. After ten years, we’re getting tired of war, and many of us are starting to think we can’t win. We’re tired of our family, friends, co-workers getting called up for National Guard duty wondering if we’ll ever see our soldier again. We’re getting tired of spending money, and more importantly lives, and being told we’re making progress. Progress we can’t seem to point to, no area is safe, no area is cleansed of the Taliban/Al Queda.

We aren’t winning, because we’re fighting not to lose. That is not working. Billions of dollars, we don’t have, and thousands of lives, we shouldn’t have, are being expended because we don’t know how to win.

We surge the troops, and then abandon the compounds we were fighting for. It is turning into another Viet-Nam. We can’t leave, because if we do our “allies” will fall. We can’t stay, because we are tired of footing the bill, both in the lives expended, and monetary category.

I could continue, but why? We all know the deal, but we won’t discuss it.

Snake307 on June 29, 2011 at 1:21 PM

You can bet that these numbers will not show as much support for Obama when contrasted with his refusal to listen to his Generals.Baxter Greene on June 29, 2011 at 12:55 PM

There is only one President at a time ask General Patraeus, if he agrees with your statement. Move On. Org tried to smear Patraeus when he served under President George W Bush, remember? He didn’t report what they wanted to hear about the Iraqi surge, and they labeled him General Betrayus – But he was just following orders from President George W Bush. He serves at the President’s pleasure, no matter who the President happens to be at any given time. The office of President is more important then re assigning General’s extra power during war time, when the present President makes an unpopular decision.

Dr Evil on June 29, 2011 at 1:47 PM

Interesting. Can’t wait to see the poll results after we are gone reacting to the atrocities being committed against women and girls in the country by the resurgent taliban.

redshirt on June 29, 2011 at 1:49 PM

Interesting. Can’t wait to see the poll results after we are gone reacting to the atrocities being committed against women and girls in the country by the resurgent taliban.

redshirt on June 29, 2011 at 1:49 PM

Unfortunately, the so-called “broad majority” doesn’t care, as evidenced by this poll, as well as many HA posters. They seem to feel that if it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind.

Connie on June 29, 2011 at 2:00 PM

It’s simply ‘War Fatigue’.

Wasn’t the Obama promise to end all these wars by 2009 or in 2009? We’re two years past his own deadline and troops won’t start coming out until next year. And people are happy with this?

As far as it being another Vietnam: Only in the sense that many americans and practically all politicians haven’t the will to fight and win a war.

‘Surges’ and drones and missile attacks, etc do not win wars. You win wars by killing the bad guys so much, they are either obliterated or they surrender. Period. That is winning. That is War.

We have damaged the Islamists, killed OBL and made great inroads against their ideology. But it won’t be enough.

Our children will be the ones to pay for our shortsightedness.

catmman on June 29, 2011 at 2:21 PM

Paraphrasing:

“The Marines (and Armed Forces) are at War. America is at the Mall.”

catmman on June 29, 2011 at 2:22 PM

It’s like reliving the stupidity of the ’90s under Clinton. Here we are again making nice with the Taliban while they randomly blow up people. But, no, the knucklehead we have as President has to appease his liberal base much as Clinton had to. So it will take another bunch of people getting incinerated and some more buildings getting crashed into before we break out of this stuck-on-stupid mentality and finishing what we’ve started. Deja vu, guys, and they’re not going to leave us alone when we leave there.

mozalf on June 29, 2011 at 2:27 PM

Dr Evil on June 29, 2011 at 1:47 PM

It’s not about “reporting what we want to hear” from Petraeus and no one has stated that Petraeus or any Generals receive “extra power”….

The bottom line is not only is the President going against the advice and wishes of his Generals…he also lied about it.

The public overwhelming gives more credibility to the decision making in matters of war to our military than it does to politicians.

Obama has instituted a slow surrender that will have devastating effects on our safety and foreign policy.

He promised to “win the good war”….”to finish the job”

He instead has sold out this country and our Soldiers for political gain.The same thing they tried to do with the Iraq war.

Epic failure by this administration.

Baxter Greene on June 29, 2011 at 2:30 PM

Why not support the withdrawal. We sure as hell aren’t there to win!

GarandFan on June 29, 2011 at 2:35 PM

Interesting. Can’t wait to see the poll results after we are gone reacting to the atrocities being committed against women and girls in the country by the resurgent taliban.

We don’t react now. They’re stoned to death, and we barely notice. They’re raped, and we don’t even raise an official eyebrow. The girls are kidnapped off the street, and have bombs strapped to them, barely escape with their lives, and we don’t notice now.

What makes you think we’ll notice in a year, or two?

Now, let’s look at the other side of the coin. How do we end the culture of ignorance celebrated as a good Muslim? When the only book they’ve ever read is the Koran? How do we change the cultural environment to eliminate the social tolerance and view of terrorists as Martyrs and holy warrior? My own rough estimates are that it would take eighty, or even a hundred years.

Perhaps if we made it similar to the Apollo program, the entire nation involved, our nation that is, we could do it in sixty.

We have to educate the children, which means schools mandatory for all kids. With the parents and elders unable to influence the material being taught. Assuming that this doesn’t result in a holy war slaughtering the teachers, then we can drag the kids kicking and screaming to the late 1800′s. Over the next century, we can slowly bring the kids up to today, with each generation pushing the envelope of what their parents understood and believed.

Are you ready to commit to that kind of long term plan? Because I haven’t heard of another plan that describes how we will eventually leave the region.

Snake307 on June 29, 2011 at 2:36 PM

Probably a majority of those who care still believe this time table is in agreeement with military option.

burt on June 29, 2011 at 2:44 PM

mozalf on June 29, 2011 at 2:27 PM

After 9/11, the country wanted payback. We got some but the resolve of the electorate faded pretty fast, mostly thanks to lefty pols and activists.

If people didn’t see 9/11 for what it was and we – as a nation – didn’t unleash on the monsters who did it…

I honestly think it will take some sort of WMD attack here in the states before what you say actually happens.

catmman on June 29, 2011 at 2:48 PM

Epic failure by this administration.

Baxter Greene on June 29, 2011 at 2:30 PM

Obama has doubled the size of troops in Afghanistan from the initial number Bush had staged in Afghanistan. He is withdrawing “Surge” troops, and not all of them by August of 2012. I agree this is politically motivated. But we are going to have more troops in Afghanistan “A Larger Footprint” than when Bush Left office. The Afghans don’t like us – they aren’t all that into us as long as the money flows, they will put up with us. In order to nation build -we need a nation to build from in the first place. Afghanistan is a collection of tribes. The country is next to last poorest on the planet, and it has a 11% literacy rate. We are not going to turn around Afghanistan, and they don’t want us to. We have given them 10 years – we have to accept it they aren’t that into us. Patraeus wanted the surge troops to last one more “fighting season” summer 2012. He wanted to finish what he started, and pacify the SE border provinces. President Obama is making Patraeus the head of the C.I.A. because they are wrapping up the counter insurgency, and they are starting the counter terrorism program. I think with the troop fighting one more summer it would have been easier for the General’s ground plan to work, now he’s got to get inventive and tackle the Haqqani Network from a different angle. We are not removing all our troops from Afghanistan far from it. The 10,000 Obama is talking about is to make the anti war left happy. We still have troops in Bosnia from when Bill Clinton attacked the Serbs. We are still have troops in South Korea. And we are going to have troops and assets in Afghanistan for some time to come.

Dr Evil on June 29, 2011 at 2:49 PM

Why not support the withdrawal. We sure as hell aren’t there to win!

GarandFan on June 29, 2011 at 2:35 PM

That’s the truth, and the Karzai government is corrupt so we might as well pour American tax payer dollars into a bucket with a hole in the bottom of it. I look at it this way at least with Afghanistan, when we bombed it, we didn’t really have a lot of infrastructure to worry about rebuilding. Make no mistake, the poor Afghans – regular folks are not profiting from our presence in Afghanistan. And they know from history that power ebbs and flows in that country, from whoever is holding the club at the time.

There is no professional class left in Afghanistan, they bugged out in the 80s, when the Soviets invaded. No professors, doctors, teachers, judges, lawyers,nurses, mechanics,…you get the idea, they left and didn’t look back. Afghanistan’s GDP consist of “aid” from international donors like the U.S. so how would Afghanistan pay it’s bills if we don’t support it with our tax payer dollars? How long are we going to pay our bills Federal Debt, and Afghanistan’s operating cost too?

Dr Evil on June 29, 2011 at 2:59 PM

catmman on June 29, 2011 at 2:48 PM

An IED has already been found in Brownsville, Texas. It’s only a matter of time but maybe when the Left starts getting stuff blown up in their own neighborhoods, we will get some kind of new offensive on the terrorist front.

Dr Evil on June 29, 2011 at 3:03 PM

Dr Evil on June 29, 2011 at 3:03 PM

It’s just like the Times Square bomb attempt, the underwear bomber, Ft Hood, Ft. Dix, all the other attacks that were either foiled or didn’t go off because of a simply mistake from the terrorist (like the TS bomb). Eight of them at least in the last two years alone.

People. Don’t. Care.

You’re right, it will take something big which costs a lot of people.

catmman on June 29, 2011 at 3:10 PM

I support withdrawal NOW! If our President isn’t willing to commit the resources (political, moral, diplomatic and military) to decisively defeat the Taliban and stabilize Afghanistan so by extension we can influence Pakistan, then we are on a slow, bleeding road to failure. Stop risking one more American serviceman or woman’s life and get the ^%$^% out NOW!

EasyEight on June 29, 2011 at 3:17 PM

Wars run by polls & popular opinion.
GREAT IDEA!

Badger40 on June 29, 2011 at 3:31 PM

Obama has doubled the size of troops in Afghanistan from the initial number Bush had staged in Afghanistan.

Dr Evil on June 29, 2011 at 2:49 PM

Primarily due to the fact that Obama implemented Bush’s plan for a troop increase upon entering office.
Also due to the fact that Petraeus’s success in Iraq had not had time to be implemented in Afghanistan until after Bush had left office.
I am sure that Bush would have given Petraeus what he wanted.
Obama’s surge after a year of dithering was tens of thousands less than the optimum plan he was given by McCrystal.

. He is withdrawing “Surge” troops, and not all of them by August of 2012. I agree this is politically motivated. But we are going to have more troops in Afghanistan “A Larger Footprint” than when Bush Left office.

Why is “when Bush left office” some any kind of measuring stick for success.Bush had more troops slated to go(that Obama implemented) and previous to that..had not directed enough resources in Afghanistan.A new direction was created with Petraeus but before that…Afghanistan was floundering.
Obama did send a surge….but it was a minimal plan and certainly not enough troops to get the job done. That is why the job is no where near being done right now.

Let’s look at what Obama promised to do in Afghanistan.

Losing is not an option

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZRspJg1VYA

I will . . . finish the fight against al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Barack Obama

Mr. Obama has said that a stable Afghanistan is central to the security of the United States,

Obama Considers Strategy Shift in Afghan War
NY Times, Sept. 22, 2009

“We need to finish the fight in Afghanistan… George Bush and John McCain have been weak on terrorism. It’s time to finish the fight in Afghanistan.”

Barack Obama
2008 Presidential Campaigning

Remember what Obama promised back in 2008:

“No. 3, we’ve got to deal with Pakistan, because al Qaeda and the Taliban have safe havens in Pakistan, across the border in the northwest regions, and although, you know, under George Bush, with the support of Senator McCain, we’ve been giving them $10 billion over the last seven years,(Obama has given them billions more) they have not done what needs to be done to get rid of those safe havens.
And until we do, Americans here at home are not going to be safe.
But I do believe that we have to change our policies with Pakistan. We can’t coddle, as we did, a dictator, give him billions of dollars and then he’s making peace treaties with the Taliban and militants.
“[al Qaeda] are now operating in 60 countries. We have to go to the root cause, and that is in Afghanistan and Pakistan. That’s going to be critical. “

“…every intelligence agency will acknowledge that al Qaeda is the greatest threat against the United States and that Secretary of Defense Gates acknowledged the central front — that the place where we have to deal with these folks is going to be in Afghanistan and in Pakistan.

..Obama has not “finished the fight” against the Taliban/Al-qaeda in this region nor has he stopped their ability to train,fund,and support terrorism.

Reducing troops levels against the recommendations of our military is not putting us in a stronger position to do this..but a weaker position.

With all of the weapons and training we have done that will slowly but surely go to the Taliban/al-qaeda….
…we will end up leaving Afghanistan stronger then it was when we went in.

Baxter Greene on June 29, 2011 at 4:00 PM

We are not going to turn around Afghanistan, and they don’t want us to. We have given them 10 years – we have to accept it they aren’t that into us. Patraeus wanted the surge troops to last one more “fighting season” summer 2012. He wanted to finish what he started, and pacify the SE border provinces.

Petraeus was doing the best with the hand he was dealt.Just like you said..he has to follow the mission the President laid out…which was not one of Victory.
Pacifying the SE border is in no way winning this war.
We did not go to war with just the SE of Afghanistan…and the Taliban/Al-qaeda still are strong in the North and East of this country:

http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2011/06/obama_announces_rapi.php

The quick drawdown means that the US and NATO will not have enough forces to address the problems that still exist in the east and the north, where the situation has either remained the same or, in some cases, worsened. President Obama’s announcement means that troops freed from the south will not be redeployed to the east. They are being withdrawn altogether while the remain troops in the south will be kept busy completing the mission there before the final pullout in 2013-2014.
This means that the burden of securing the east and the north will fall on the Afghan security forces, without the support of surge forces. The Afghans will have a fight on their hands, one at least as tough as the conflict in the South. In order to prevail, Afghan security force will have to improve quickly and significantly, which is a capacity that has not been demonstrated thus far.
Under these conditions, it is not reasonable to expect Afghan security forces to be able to beat back the insurgency, specifically in the east, where the enemy is effective and the terrain is difficult.

Not only does Obama’s plan leave a large part of Afghanistan under control by the enemy….his plan relies on Afgan forces to secure these areas.
There is no military consensus that sees these forces anywhere near ready to hold territory against the enemy.

We still have troops in Bosnia from when Bill Clinton attacked the Serbs. We are still have troops in South Korea. And we are going to have troops and assets in Afghanistan for some time to come.

The difference in having troops in those areas compared to having them in Afghanistan is quite frankly…we defeated the enemies in those countries….we have not done that in Afghanistan.
Our bases will be under attack as the enemy starts to take back the country and will also be undermined by the Afghanistan government..who will want to save their own necks by siding with the Taliban/al-qaeda.

Obama has made an incredible mess by in the beginning…sending a “surge” with an “exit date”…this was a disaster and we quickly saw Karzi publically courting
the Taliban because he knew we were not in it to win.
Our physco relationship with Pakistan also has turned so bad that they are shutting us out for the Chinese.
Intelligence and drone strikes will start to be weakened quickly as boots leave and these countries side with the enemy.

Bush was able to avoid this in Iraq by not setting exit dates……
……….letting the populace and tribal leaders know that we are in it to win and will be going nowhere until the enemy is stopped…
……….and by decimating al-qaeda and the Mahdi army to the extent that votes and some semblance of government could be attained.
Obama has ignored the gains made there and we have watched Iraq deteriorate also.

None of this points to Obama’s pledge that “losing is not an option”…..

This is very much a war (again) that our military is winning the battles but the politicians at home or losing the war.

Baxter Greene on June 29, 2011 at 4:21 PM

Does this broad majority know that the Won exceeded Gen. Patraeus’ recommendations? He went with a higher number picked out of his golf cap in order to suck in as many voters as possible.

Kissmygrits on June 29, 2011 at 6:29 PM