Sixty percent of Americans now say the war in Afghanistan “is not worth fighting,” according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll released today. That’s the highest level of dissatisfaction ever recorded in that survey.
Only 34% of respondents said the war, which in June became the longest war in U.S. history, has been worth fighting. That’s less than the 43% of respondents who felt “strongly” that the war has not been worth fighting.[TPM SLIDESHOW: TPM Looks Back At 9 Years At War In Afghanistan]
The poll’s findings come at a time when the ramped up military operations in Afghanistan led to by far the bloodiest year yet in the war. According to icasualties.com, 489 American service members have been killed in Afghanistan in 2010, bringing the war’s total American death toll to 1,436.
Public discontent with the war has risen 7 points since July, an ominous spike that comes as the administration releases a one-year review of the military strategy in Afghanistan. Further, Americans’ record level of dissatisfaction with the war in Afghanistan is now on par with those recorded for the Iraq War. On average between 2005 and 2009, 60% of Americans said that war was not worth fighting, with a high of 66% recorded in April 2007, according to the poll release.
Two more surveys released this week seem to affirm the findings of the Washington Post-ABC News poll.
In a Quinnipiac poll of Pennsylvania voters released this morning, 54% of respondents said the U.S. should not be involved in Afghanistan, versus 36% who said the U.S. was “doing the right thing” by fighting there. Those numbers present a drastic change from July, when a 48% plurality of respondents said it was the right thing to do, versus 45% who said the U.S. should leave Afghanistan.
And an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll out yesterday asked:
Which one change do you feel that Barack Obama most needs to make in the next two years?
Seventeen percent of respondents answered “Bring the troops home from Afghanistan,” second only to the 36% of respondents who said Obama should focus more on the economy, and more than the number who said he should do more to reduce the deficit (15%) and help the middle class (13%.)
Launched in October 2001, the war in Afghanistan has lasted over nine years at a cost of at least $336 billion, according to the Congressional Research Service. President Obama has pledged to begin withdrawing troops next summer, though the U.S. and NATO envision combat troops remaining in the country until 2014.
The Washington Post-ABC News poll was conducted Dec. 9-12 among 1,001 adults nationwide. It has a margin of error of 3.5 percent.