Voters back Obama's troop buildup in Afghanistan

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A majority of US voters support President Barack Obama’s decision to send an additional 17,000 troops to Afghanistan and give him high marks on his handling of foreign policy, according to a poll released Thursday.

But the survey showed public opinion divided over whether Obama should heed a request from the military commander in Afghanistan for another 13,000 troops.

The Quinnipiac University poll said 67 percent of those surveyed backed Obama’s announcement last month to deploy extra troops and 31 percent were opposed.

And only 47 percent said Obama should endorse a request by commanders for a further 13,000 troops, with 43 percent against.

     

By a margin of 48-35 percent, Americans think US troops should go after Taliban or Al-Qaeda forces that cross the border from Afghanistan into Pakistan or operate out of Pakistan, the poll showed.

But if the Pakistani government opposes the cross-border strikes, then 49 percent of voters oppose the attacks with 37 percent in favor.

Americans also approve of the way Obama is managing the country’s foreign policy by a margin of 56-21 percent, the poll said, with 78 percent of Democratic voters and 51 percent of independent voters in support.

Republicans, however, disapprove of his foreign policy performance by a margin of 43 to 31 percent, according to the poll.

But Obama’s most enthusiastic supporters — younger voters, women, blacks, Hispanics and those making less than 50,000 dollars a year — are opposed to sending more reinforcements beyond the 17,000 that Obama has approved.

Obama last month approved the additional 17,000 troops to bolster the 38,000-strong force fighting an increasingly violent insurgency in Afghanistan.

The decision was in response to a standing request from the commander of US forces in Afghanistan, General David McKiernan, who has asked for about 30,000 troops for the Afghan mission.

"At this point, Americans seem willing to support President Obama in his effort to win the war in Afghanistan," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"But, clearly, they are wary about too much American involvement there and if Obama’s support erodes it seems more likely to come from those who are generally in his corner."

A majority of 60 percent think the 2003 US invasion of Iraq was the wrong thing to do while 58 percent back the decision to go to war in Afghanistan in 2001, with 36 percent opposed.

Republicans and independent voters are more supportive of the war in Afghanistan than Democrats, according to the survey, with 78 percent of Republicans and 61 percent of independents saying they think the war was a good idea.

Only 42 percent of Democrats said the Afghan war was a good decision for the United States.

The poll, conducted from February 25 to March 2, surveyed 2,573 voters with a margin of error of 1.9 percentage points.


Memo from Stew….

‘afghanistan is the place where Empires go to die"

pat buchanan

I never thought that I would live to see the day when I would ever have agreed with Buchanan on anything, but having sketched out the history of the region and having read *Gunga Din, and watched the Russian experience after I came home from Vietnam, plus watching the geo politico dance today with respect to the Afghanistan matter?

The convoys of US war materiel have been destroyed already, train tracks and bridges dropped, US-Kyrgi airport leases cancelled, supplanted by higher bids from Russia, no mission stated objective and no time line? the near impregnable terrain and the khyber pass being the only land route through the region connecting europe to the mid east oil?

I have to wonder who is really behind this ill advised expedition?

It seems to me if it is all about finding Bin Laden then call out the 101 st and the 10 th Mountain Divisions and drop them in by air in wave after wave of air assault on some sunny morning and seize the day in a search and destroy operation of military historic dimension and then get the heck out by sun up the next day with the object of the mission in shackles.

This idea of a protracted mission there disturbs my sense of sphinx like calm.

stew

"Gunga Din" (1892) is one of Rudyard Kipling’s most famous poems, perhaps best known for its often-quoted last stanza, "Tho’ I’ve belted you and flayed you, By the livin’ Gawd that made you, You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din!" The poem is a rhyming narrative from the point of view of a British soldier, about a native water-bearer (a "bhisti") who saves the soldier’s life but dies himself. Like several Kipling poems, it celebrates the virtues of a non-European while revealing the racism of a colonial infantryman who views such people as being of a "lower order". The poem was published as one of the set of martial poems called the Barrack-Room Ballads.

 

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