After falling to a relatively pessimistic low shortly before his December announcement of the McChrystal Plan and the latest escalation, America’s public perception of the Afghan War had been running comparatively high, with only about half of Americans believing the war was going badly as recently as May.
Though the war has been going worse and worse as time has gone on, it is perhaps understandable that public perception moved this way over the winter, as the announcement of the “new” strategy coupled with the usual winter lull made the story of a planned victory the last major coverage of the war for several months in many media outlets.
Summer is back though, and with June’s record death toll comes a return to pessimism about the war’s prospects. The latest poll shows 62 percent believing the war is going badly now, with only 31 believing it is going well.
The poll also showed a majority of Americans, 54-41, want a timetable for exiting Afghanistan. The administration has been lately trying to disavow its July 2011 drawdown date, which was itself a timetable in only the loosest sense of the word. Officials now predict that the war will start going well again in December, which will, not coincidentally, be about the time that the first frost of winter calms the fighting and takes the war out of the public eye.