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Polls and Pols Differ on Afghanistan

By   /   May 23, 2011  /   News  /   3 Comments

Following the death of Osama bin Laden polls find more Americans favoring an immediate pull-out of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, but Senator Ben Nelson (NE-D) tells Nebraska Watchdog that even with Bin Laden gone an “immediate U.S. drawdown” is not justified.

A limited withdrawal is scheduled to start this July. Nelson says Bin Laden’s death is a “step in the right direction as we move forward with plans to withdraw from Afghanistan”, but cautions that the United States cannot let down its guard against terrorism.

In this month’s USA Today poll nearly 6 out of 10 people surveyed said it’s now time to leave Afghanistan.

According to the most recent Rasmussen poll 56 percent want American forces in Afghanistan home early next year, 35 percent want them out immediately. Rasmussen says those 56 percent mark an increase of four points from the beginning of March, a 13 point hike from last September, and a jump of 19 points from September 2009.

In addition 70 percent of Democrats want a speedy withdrawal, as do 42 percent of Republicans.

Despite the polling both Nebraska Senators remain cautious, while former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel (R) says the conflict is “unsustainable.” During a speech in Pittsburgh last week, Hagel-a Vietnam veteran and former member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee-said without the support of the American people the war in Afghanistan cannot continue. According to Hagel the debate now  “is about when we come out, and how we come out. … You can’t keep the troops in there and prop up a government.”

As Nebraska Watchdog first reported, following bin Laden’s death Republican Mike Johanns said, “If America leaves now, the Taliban will almost certainly take over the country and continue their record of exporting terrorism and destabilizing the entire region. We should not let that happen.”

Senator Nelson is concerned that leaving Afghanistan too early might backfire. According to Nelson the U.S. is involved in efforts to bring the country’s many factions together. “If those differences aren’t resolved for the longer term, we could be faced with going back if it again becomes a safe haven for terrorists,” Nelson stated.   

Reported by Joe Jordan, [email protected]

Editor’s note: to subscribe to News Updates from Nebraska Watchdog at no cost, click here


Joe formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.

  • FDP

    Who really cares what “Chuck” Hagel has to say about anything. I sincerely wish that the media would cease citing him ( and for that matter R. Kerrey) as “experts” regarding anything pertaining to Iraq or Afghanistan. For goodness sake the Vietnam war ended nearly 50 years ago. There are numerous more relevant sources the media could cite who have actually been, or who are still involved in both current military actions. Good reporters should seek them out instead of taking the easy route and soliciting opinions from dated “experts” who are always too happy to jump in front of a tv camera or microphone.

  • The people are right about the issue; get us the hell out of there. Only the defense industry and their lobbyists and their patrons like Ben Nelson want us to stay.

    ricky from omaha

  • bobsee

    I agree, getting out now would be somewhat palatable to the American people and the rest of the world. America had no business in Afghanistan, the entire “conflict’ was a colossal wait of money and American lives. The Chinese Govt has loaned the US government almost 1/2 trillion dollars to finance this war. The US has not even begun to pay for the first day of the war 10 years ago. Nearly 2500 soldiers lives lost forever. This is beyond reasonable, now is the time to get out before we turn another generation of Afghans into martyrs willing to kill US citizens. This war is indefensible.