Afghans have voted in their country's second presidential election ever, but here in the U.S., people are growing more skeptical about America's efforts there. According to a new Washington Post poll, 51 percent of Americans now say the war in Afghanistan is not worth fighting...meaning there could be some controversy over sending more troops there. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the new top commander in Afghanistan, is expected to ask for more troops sometime after the presidential ballots are counted. 24 percent told the Post that's a good idea; 45 want fewer troops there.
This is a sticky situation for the administration, because the war in Afghanistan may need more troops if it's going to achieve "victory," which now seems to be eradicating the Taliban and stabilizing the country. There are 60,000+ U.S. troops there now, along with some 30,000 additional forces under NATO command. That's fewer troops than are serving in Iraq, even as troop levels are drawn down, and Afghanistan's terrain and wide open spaces pose difficulties not seen in Iraq.
Until the withdrawal agreement was reached with Nouri al Maliki's government in Iraq, Democrats clamored for an end to the Iraq war, citing the war in Afghanistan as a justified effort, by contrast: Bush was right to attack bin Laden and the Taliban, they said, but going into Iraq was pure hubris and deceit...pull out of Iraq and focus on Afghanistan, they said. Now, according to the Post, seven in 10 Democrats say the war "has not been worth its costs," and fewer than 20 percent want more troops sent there. Republicans and conservatives, however, are strongly behind it...meaning that, if he sends more troops, Obama will be seen by at least a few liberals as siding with the other team.