Will Obama Have to Rely on Republicans to Keep Afghan War Going?

With Independents and His Own Party Firmly Against the Escalation, How Long Can Obama Continue to Escalate?

Since taking office the escalation of the war in Afghanistan has been a central part of President Obama’s foreign policy. But recent polls have put independent voters in opposition to the Afghan War and Democrats hugely against it. Only among Republicans does the war continue to have any real traction, and as President Obama tries to sell the public on yet more escalations he may find himself in the position of having to rely on the opposition party for his war, even as he clashes publicly with them on domestic issues.

Eight years in, the Afghan War is a bigger failure than ever, and the president is finding himself less than eight months after taking office trying to bring the American public on board for the second “new” war strategy of his administration.

Polls now show only 48% of the American public approves of OIbama’s handling of the war, the first time this has dipped below 50%. The left-most portion of the Congressional Democrats are now saying they want concrete timeline for leaving the country.

But with conservative pundit George Will coming out publicly against the war this week, after being one of its strongest advocates for years, it seems that war exhaustion is startng to imperil Republican support for the conflict, and may eventually strip Obama of one of his last bastions of Congressional support for the war he so desperately seeks to continue.

At the same time, what if anything Congress is willing to do about the war remains to be seen. The Democratic majority was unwilling to buck President Bush on the even more unpopular Iraq War, and it seems no more likely that they will clash with a president from their own party over the issue. At the end of the day though, as popular support for the war continues to crumble, the pressure to change courses may become too great to ignore.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.