By Richard Wolf
August 2, 2010
Excerpted, with added links to topical reports on this site
WASHINGTON — Public support for President Obama’s Afghanistan war policy has plummeted amid a rising U.S. death toll and the unauthorized release of classified military documents, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll shows.
Support for Obama’s management of the war fell to 36%, down from 48% in a February poll. Now, a record 43% also say it was a mistake to go to war there after the terrorist attacks in 2001.
The decline in support contributed to the lowest approval ratings of Obama’s presidency. Amid a lengthy recession, more Americans support his handling of the economy (39%) than the war.
Even Obama’s handling of the war in Iraq received record-low approval, despite a drawdown of 90,000 troops and the planned, on-schedule end of U.S. combat operations there this month.
Only 41% of those surveyed Tuesday through Sunday approved of the way Obama is handling his job, his lowest rating in the USA TODAY/Gallup Poll since he took office in January 2009. In Gallup’s separate daily tracking poll, his approval was at 45% Monday.
The waning support for the Afghanistan war coincides with the deaths of a record 66 U.S. servicemembers in July, up from 60 in June. As the last of 30,000 reinforcements ordered by Obama enter the country, the international military force is encountering heavy Taliban resistance in the southern provinces of Kandahar and Helmand. …
The drop in support also follows the online posting of more than 76,000 documents by WikiLeaks. Two-thirds of those polled said it was wrong for the website to publish the documents.
Obama said Monday that he’ll stick to his war plan: training Afghans to provide their own security, then beginning to withdraw troops in July 2011. The poll showed most Americans agree: 57% want a timetable for removing troops, and two-thirds of those say withdrawal should be done gradually.
Topical reports on this site
Afghan War Deadlier Than Ever (July 31, 2010)
A crowd of Afghan protesters destroy a car during clashes with police following Friday prayers in Kabul on July 30, 2010. Rioting erupted when scores of Afghan men set fire to two U.S. embassy vehicles after one collided with a civilian car killing a number of occupants, officials and witnesses said. (Photo credit: Yuri Cortez / AFP – Getty Images)
Iraq Civilian Deaths at 2-Year High (Aug. 1, 2010)
Iraq Security Remains Fragile (July 22, 2010)
Adam Hadei / AP
Mayhem in Baghdad (July 18, 2010)
Iraq Election Violence Continues (June 20, 2010)
Hadi Mizban / AP
Iraq Fighters Learn from Taliban (June 17, 2010)
Karim Kadim / AP
Bombings in Iraq, Afghanistan (June 6, 2010)
Aug. 2, 2010
U.S. troop levels
Sources: The Associated Press, State Department, Defense Department, Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, The Brookings Institution, Committee to Protect Journalists, National Priorities Project, The Brussels Tribunal, United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and the U.S. Department of Labor.
FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — August 4, 2009
One year ago today, I provided my weekly report of U.S. military deaths in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), compiled from U.S. Department of Defense News Releases.
FROM THE ARCHIVES: Two Years Ago — August 4, 2008
Army Spc. Seth Goehring with his son Kolton at his home in Crookston, Minn., Feb. 28, 2008. He and his wife Alicia were married by proxy, 6,500 miles apart, with his mother standing in for him. She was in Montana, he was in Iraq. (Photo credit: The Associated Press)
Two years ago today, on the 21st day of my 2008 campaign against incumbent U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann for the Republican nomination in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, I featured a candidate profile by St. Paul Pioneer Press reporter Dennis Lien, titled “Bachmann encounters challenger from within.” I also posted a public service announcement to help draw attention to the sacrifice of National Guard citizen soldiers serving in Iraq and the families they leave behind.
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