A Washington Post/ABC News poll shows two-thirds of Americans believe what the majority of us were saying four and more years ago: the war in Afghanistan was not worth fighting. Sadly however, the majority believes that a residual force should remain there to train and back up Afghan soldiers.
Belief that the war wasn't worth fighting has been the view of a majority since a Post-ABC poll on the subject in 2010. But this latest iteration shows a record 50 percent saying they "strongly" believe the war wasn't worth fighting. Support was in the 90th percentile range when the war started 13 years ago in the wake of the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. on September 11, 2001.
Moreover, the opposition cuts across party lines, although Democrats at 67 percent and independents at 71 percent are stronger in their objections than are Republicans at 54 percent
"Despite the skepticism, a 55 percent majority favors keeping some U.S. forces in Afghanistan going forward for anti-insurgency operations and training, while just over four in 10 prefer removing all troops from the country.
The future U.S. military role remains in limbo because Afghan President Hamid Karzai has refused to sign a bilateral security agreement that would keep an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 U.S. troops in the country after 2014. [...]
A separate Associated Press-GfK poll released Wednesday found 57 percent of Americans saying the United States did “the wrong thing” in going to war with Afghanistan in the first place, with mixed feelings toward keeping troops in the country past 2014. Obama received negative marks for his handling of the situation, with 53 percent disapproving and 45 percent approving."
As of Dec. 19, 2,300 Americans and 1,105 NATO troops had been killed during the war. So far in 2013, 126 American and 30 NATO troops have been killed, the lowest number since 2008. No reliable overall count of Afghan war deaths have been tallied, but the numbers are in the tens of thousands.
The war's costs are variously estimated. The National Priorities Project has posted a running tally now clicking around $682 billion, rising $10.45 million an hour. According to Harvard researcher Linda J. Bilmes, the total eventual U.S. costs of the Afghanistan/Pakistan war and the Iraq war that should never have been fought -- including interest costs and short- and long-term medical care for injured veterans -- will range from $4 trillion to $6 trillion.