According to a CNN/ORC International survey released today, only 17 percent of Americans support the war in Afghanistan and most Americans want the troops there home before the December 2014 deadline. The war may be the most unpopular in American history.
Just 17% of those questioned say they support the 12-year-long war, down from 52% in December 2008. Opposition to the conflict now stands at 82%, up from 46% five years ago.
"Those numbers show the war in Afghanistan with far less support than other conflicts," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. "Opposition to the Iraq war never got higher than 69% in CNN polling while U.S. troops were in that country, and while the Vietnam War was in progress, no more than six in 10 ever told Gallup's interviewers that war was a mistake."
The CNN/ORC International poll is the latest poll suggesting that Americans are becoming increasingly disillusioned with an interventionist foreign policy. Earlier this month, the Pew Research Center released its poll examining how American’s view the United States' place in the world. For the first time in the history of the poll (almost fifty years), more than half of the respondents agreed with the statement, “The U.S. should mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own.”
Not only do more than half of Americans as a whole support being less involved abroad, more than half of Republicans and Independents also believe that the U.S. should mind its own business:
About half of independents (55%) and Republicans (53%) and 46% of Democrats say the United States should mind its own business internationally. In 2002, following the 9/11 attacks, 27% of independents, 22% of Republicans and 40% of Democrats wanted the United States to mind its own business internationally.
That most Americans are fed up with the war in Afghanistan and want the U.S. to mind its own business is good news for non-interventionist Republicans such as Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).
It is good news that most Americans oppose an interventionist foreign policy and that the vast majority do not support the longest war in U.S. history. Unfortunately, foreign policy is only one of the issues on which the opinions of American lawmakers differ from those of the American public.