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Bin Laden bump fades already: Afghan war support and Obama job approval head down again

American war dead return from Afghanistan

No one ever accused Americans of being consistent in their political opinions. Now, fresh evidence.

A new Rasmussen Reports poll finds that 35% of likely voters want immediate U.S. troop withdrawal from the nearly 10-year-old war in Afghanistan. That's the highest favoring immediate withdrawal ever.

Another 21% want a firm timetable set for withdrawal within one year.

That poll's combined 56% is up four points from early March, up 13 points from last September and up 19 points from September of 2009, indicating mounting impatience with the war effort despite, or perhaps because, of two troop surges ordered by President Obama. He says he has a plan to end U.S. troop involvement there before 2015.Afghanistan war Mortar Returns fires

Of potential political significance is the fact that opposition to the nation's longest war is by far largest among members of Obama's own Democratic Party, 70% of whom favor immediate withdrawal or a firm timetable.

Among independents, that number is 54% and a growing 42% among Republicans, who once gave Obama his strongest support in that area.

This could be explained by the initial celebrations over Osama bin Laden's death actually calling renewed attention to the stubbornly ongoing war, where obvious victories are few and far between.

A new Pew Research Center poll finds Obama's approval rating, which spiked to 56% after his late-night announcement of the slaying of the Al Qaeda founder, has already fallen 10%, or six points, to 50%.

That and his disapproval rating (39%) have essentially returned to late-February levels, contrary to predictions that the positive bump would last weeks.

Pew finds views essentially unchanged among Americans about achieving the goals in Afghanistan. Sixty-two percent now say the country will probably or definitely achieve its goals there, while 24% say it will definitely or probably fail.

However, despite Bin Laden's death, those numbers too are essentially unchanged, with 49% wanting U.S. troops out ASAP and 43% willing to maintain them until the situation is stabilized.

As of today, 2,445 allied troops have died in the Afghanistan fighting, 1,572 of them American; 165 have died so far this year, 126 of them American, about one fatality per day.

The president is off to El Paso, Texas, on Tuesday to try to change the subject again. He'll talk there about how the country's immigration system is still broken despite his 839 days in office.

 -- Andrew Malcolm

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Photos: Associated Press (American war dead return from Afghanistan); Getty Images.

Comments () | Archives (9)

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Yeah, Because Obama the one who got us into Iraq and Afghanistan in the first place (rolls eyes).

Yeah, because Obama is the one who got us into Iraq and Afghanistan in the first place (rolls eyes).

Obama has been entirely ineffective as president. He's passed Obamacare, but exempted over 1,000 of the largest employers in the country from complying with the legislation--and the number of exemptions keeps growing.

He killed Osama bin Laden but probably broke every international law he said he wanted to keep. The same president who seriously considered trying Muslim terrorists held at Guantanamo in New York City to protect their rights, but has the al Queda leader assassinated in cold blood.

He signed the Food Safety Modernization Act which threatens to put small, organic, and sustainable farmers out-of-business with the overreaching regulatory efforts of the USDA and FDA legitimized--further threatening the U.S. "food" system which is dominated by the power of multinational corporations and their control of GMO seed stock and patents.

The U.S. economy continues to falter with very few rays of hope. Gas and food prices are soaring, unemployment continues to rise as more American lose their unemployment benefits to long term joblessness--when they fall off the government's headcount at 99 weeks without a job.

The national debt is in excess of $14.3 trillion dollars, which equals $45,000 for every man, woman, and child in the country. And Congress wants to raise the debt ceiling even higher!

No matter how rosy the press wants to make the coverage of this president, the view on main street and across the country is that of a nation on the verge of something in the neighborhood of a cataclysmic economic failure.

America is waking up and smelling the coffee. When will the press stop backing this one-term president?

I just watched Neil Sheehan (in 1988) saying that the US leadership in Vietnam wasn't stupid, it was deluded. Similar delusions seem rampant now in the American government. Also the press. But if Obama is grim, the alternative is hideous. Except for Ron Paul.

For being such a well known newspaper, the LA Times sure seems catty, its no secret they are a Republican newspaper.

Seems like Osama...errr...Obama killed the Boogie Man a tad too early. Oops! He should have saved that 'surprise' for a date closer to the election. Apparently, he didn't learn anything from the Bush cabal rising the "threat" alert right before elections. Oh, well, live and learn. I'm sure he'll manage to pull something outstanding before the election like the invasion of Pakistan, Syria and Iran come to mind. After all, he needs to live up to the expectations of that Nobel Piss...I mean Peace, yeah, Nobel Peace Prize.

The U.S. can't withdraw from Afghanistan. Afghanistan produces 90% of the world's opium crop & heroin supply. That's around $65 billion dollars in black market cash, annually. What do you think would happen to Wall Street if they didn't have all that money to launder anymore?

Keep Wall Street solvent! Support the War!

Mitchell wrote: "Yeah, Because Obama the one who got us into Iraq and Afghanistan in the first place (rolls eyes)."
Reply: No... you are right. Obama did not get us into the wars but HE PROMISED TO GET US OUT when he was campaigning to be President...

Yep. Obama needed a bumb in the polls. Rolling out Osama Bin Dead was barely a temporary fix. Time to move on to another false flag attack to get the big numbers a la Bush(s).


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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