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CNN Poll: Afghanistan War Now Least Popular U.S. Conflict

A CNN/ORC survey found only 17 percent of Americans still support the war in Afghanistan, making it less popular than the Iraq and Vietnam wars.
Posted at 9:57 PM, Dec 30, 2013

The longest conflict in U.S. history has another dubious distinction. According to a new survey, the Afghanistan War is now the least popular U.S. conflict of all time.

A CNN/ORC survey published Monday found just 17 percent of Americans still support America's 12-year-long occupation of Afghanistan, with a whopping 82 percent opposed.

This latest poll pushes the Afghan War way past other unpopular wars in terms of public opposition. Gallup polls show the Iraq War drew only 63 percent of the public's wrath, and 4 out of 10 Americans kept supporting the Vietnam War through its darkest days.

It's worth noting the war in Afghanistan has caused fewer American deaths than either the Iraq or the Vietnam War. So, what makes this particular conflict so unpopular?

One answer might be the perceived futility of the struggle. A new American intelligence report suggests any progress in stabilizing the country will be significantly eroded three years after U.S. troops withdraw. (Via The Washington Post)

Or it could be that there's no end in sight for the U.S. Despite a withdrawal deadline of Dec. 2014, a new security agreement with Afghanistan's government could keep a small number of troops inside the country for up to 10 more years. (Via NBC)

But the most common explanation for these low numbers is simple fatigue. Commentators for CNN and The Huffington Post say the poll largely reflects a war-weary public which has lost sight of America's goals in Afghanistan.

"Part of it is victory over Al Qaeda within Afghanistan. I think people don't understand why we're there anymore. ... The numbers are just a war-weary public, and people not understanding the rationale for having a lot of troops there right now."

"There's just been over a decade now of war that the United States has been waging in faraway places that hasn't been going very well. And I think people legitimately want to know what the point of that is."

The survey also concluded more than half of Americans would support withdrawing troops before the 2014 deadline.