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Readers pan Obama, polls, each other

While President Obama is visiting China, the difficult question of what to do in Afghanistan remains strongly in the minds of our Readers Who Comment as they dissect a new Washington Post-ABC News poll that finds a majority of Americans confident Obama will select a strategy that works.

But readers are deeply split on the subject. Some question the poll's findings and integrity, without bothering to provide the rationale for their comments. Others argue the underlying question of whether we should even still be in Afghanistan. Some urge support for the troops; others call for immediate withdrawal.

As pollster Jon Cohen and Jennifer Agiesta write, "Ratings of the president's handling of Afghanistan have plummeted since the summer, turning what had been one of his most favorably regarded issues into another nearly even split: 45 percent approve of how he is dealing with it, while 48 percent disapprove."

We'll start with andrew23boyle, who wrote, "We have to define 'success' before we can 'succeed'...Are we trying to crush the Taliban? Are we trying to build a stable Afghanistan? Should our primary concern in the theater be Pakistan and its nuclear arsenal? Terrorism? Liberty? Oil pipelines? Are we simply trying to 'pull out' as safely and quickly as possible?... we, as a nation, should have this discussion and answer these questions as soon as possible and before we send more troops elsewhere...."

To which demtse responded, "If you define "success" as defeating terrorism, you're setting yourself up to fail. Terrorism cannot, I repeat, cannot be defeated, militarily."

And andrew23boyle replied, "I agree with you. Terrorism is a tactic. We can no more defeat 'terrorism' than we can defeat 'strategic bombing', whether through military action or other policy. WE CAN and we NEED to defeat... the people currently employing terrorism as one of their tactic, whether through military action or other policy. The first rule of war is to know one's enemy and we have failed even to define the enemy properly..."

jws2346 wrote, "The only new approach I want to see Obama roll out is how do we get our people home safely NOW. I'm one of those 52% that don't see the cost of the war in Afghanistan worth it and personally, I don't think we can win this silly war. If a miracle was to happen and we did miraculously win this war... Just what is it we've won[?]..."

robert17 said, "[Obama's]...making a decision by not deciding, and it's the worst possible one. Better that he admits defeat and hands the country over to the Taliban than effectively doing the same thing slowly, more painfully, and more expensively."

kwoods2 wrote, "The present occupant in the White House is trying to get his death care bill through before sending troops because the liberals will flee from him if he doesn't have the death care bill as they know they will lose their elections next year since troop withdrawal was promised in the Presidential campaign."

WhiteHonkey asked, "What is this pool [poll] crap and what does it matter? Do you think Lincoln took a poll before he defeated the Confederacy and saved the union? Do you think Roosevelt took a poll before he defeated the Germans and the Japanese and saved the free world? Polling is not going to save our community organizer from making an executive decision..."

GordonShumway said, "So half those polled approved of Obama doing nothing and half disapproved of Obama doing nothing. Wow, I'm impressed!"

southportwave wrote, "The only way this war will be "won" is to listen to the military leaders... I support the troops 100% I am sorry we attacked Iraq for no real reason. We should all along have been fighting Al Qaeda that is the enemy. Obama is not following up on his campaign promises..."

patrick8 said, "The question I have is what is our goal here? The Taliban is gone into Pakistan and Pakistan is willing to put up with Al Queda in the tribal areas. Then you have the corrupt Afghan government. We've been there for 8 years now just dumping money down the toilet when we have severe problems here at home. What are we trying to accomplish? Bankruptcy for the US?..."

Aprogressiveindependent predicted that "...Obama's war in Afghanistan may lead to a political disaster for the Democrats in the 2010 and 2012 elections. Bring the troops home from Afghanistan by next year, hire tens of thousands of demobilized soldiers to become police, to protect people at home and make the streets safer. This would be enhancing true national security."

theduke89 said, "...The lack of leadership provided by this administration in the war in Afghanistan is breath-taking and borders on the criminal. The fact that they will use their purposeful lack of leadership as a ruse to claim the public does not support the war is morally indefensible, given Obama's statements on the war while he was a candidate..."

sjp879 asked, "How many more american service members should die to protect Karzai and his corrupt administration? Besides, we tried this thing before in Iran...it didn't work out then and it won't work out now. We need to get out of Afghanistan in a somewhat responsible manner. We are wasting countless lives, not to mention money over there and what do we have to show for it?"

theduke89 wrote, "The poll proves that Democrats know how to do one thing well: Lose wars. The sliming of Karzai is also working as planned. The Obamatrons seized on the fact that the election in Afghanistan did not resemble one in say, Connnecticut, and therefore concluded that Karzai and Afghanistan should be slowly bled to death. That is what is going on. Make no mistake about it."

We'll close with Sweetbaker49, who wrote, "No matter what decision he makes, President Obama will be criticized. There is no easy answer to the quagmire of Afghanistan."

All comments on this article are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  November 18, 2009; 7:19 AM ET
 | Tags: Afghanistan, Obama, Polls  
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