Thursday, December 30, 2010

Afghan War: Who Will Speak for the Antiwar Majority?


Latest Polls: 63% of Americans

Oppose War in Afghanistan

Amanda Terkel

By Amanda Terkel

Beaver County Peace Links via Huffington Post

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Opposition to the war in Afghanistan is at an all-time high, with 63 percent of the public now opposed to U.S. involvement there, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey. Just 35 percent of survey respondents say they still support U.S. involvement.

The increase in opposition to U.S. involvement comes as pessimism about how the war is going is rising. According to a poll done Dec. 17-19, 56 percent of the public believes that "things are going badly for the U.S. in Afghanistan."

"The war has not always been unpopular -- back in March, when a majority thought that the war was going well, the country was evenly divided. But by September, the number who said that things were going well for the U.S. in Afghanistan had dropped to 44 percent, and opposition to the war had grown to 58 percent," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Today, with Americans remaining pessimistic about the situation in Afghanistan, they also remain opposed to the war."

There are, however, at least two groups where there is still a slim majority of support for the war -- the Republican Party establishment, and Tea Party activists. Here's a look at the partisan breakdown of supporters and oppositionists:

TEA PARTY: 52 percent favor, 45 percent oppose.

REPUBLICAN: 52 percent favor, 44 percent oppose.

CONSERVATIVE: 49 percent favor, 48 percent oppose.

DEMOCRAT: 24 percent favor, 74 percent oppose.

LIBERAL: 20 percent favor, 80 percent oppose.

INDEPENDENT: 35 percent favor, 63 percent oppose.

MODERATE: 32 percent favor, 66 percent oppose.

Income level also seems to play a significant role: 70 percent of people making under $50,000 annually said they oppose the war; only 54 percent of those making more than $50,000 annually said the same thing.

As the Los-Angeles Times reports, "This has been the war's deadliest year for noncombatants and combatants alike, with civilian casualties for the first 10 months of this year running 20% higher than the same period a year ago, according to the most recent figures available from the United Nations."

The number of foreign troops killed in the nine-year war has hit an all-time high, with more than 700 lives lost. Nearly 500 U.S. servicemembers were killed this past year alone, according to the site

A new report by Reporters Without Borders also finds that the country remains dangerous for journalists. There was a "major increase" in the number of journalists kidnapped in 2010, with Afghanistan a hot spot of trouble. "The case of French TV journalists Hervé Ghesquière and Stéphane Taponier and their three Afghan assistants, held hostage in Afghanistan since 29 December 2009, is the longest abduction in the history of the French media since the end of the 1980s," writes the organization in its report.

There are approximately 140,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan. Last year, President Obama ordered 30,000 more U.S. troops be sent there. He has promised that the United States will begin withdrawing troops in July 2011.

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