Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

March 29, 2009


CNN - The American public has been wary about the war in Afghanistan, according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll conducted in February.

Last month, Americans were almost evenly divided between those who support the war and those who oppose it, the poll showed, with 47 percent in favor and 51 percent opposed.

Opposition to the war in Afghanistan is more muted than opposition to the war in Iraq, but it's not so muted among Democrats. Two-thirds of Americans overall oppose the war in Iraq, but 64 percent of Democrats oppose the war in Afghanistan. . .

Only 31 percent of Americans believe the United States is winning the war in Afghanistan. Fifty percent believe the United States is winning in Iraq -- the highest number in at least five years. But Americans still want to get out of Iraq.

Progressive Review - The Obama administration's planned U.S. troop commitment in Afghanistan - not counting mercenaries - is roughly where the U.S. was in Vietnam in the early summer of 1965.

In May 1965, a Gallup poll found that 48% of Americans approved of the government's handling of the conflict, almost the same as approve our war in Afghanistan. But the opposition to the Afghan conflict is twice as strong: 51% opposed in constrat with only 28% opposed to the war in Vietnam at that early stage.

Yet despite the much stronger opposition to the Afghan war, the Vietnam opposition was dramatically more apparent. Wikipedia reports:

- March 24, the anti-war Students for a Democratic Society attended the first teach-in, organized by some teachers, against the war at the University of Michigan, attended by 2,500 participants. This was to be repeated at 35 campuses across the country.

- April 17, the SDS and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, a civil rights activist group, led the first of several anti-war marches in Washington DC, with about 25,000 protesters.

- The first draft card burnings took place at University of California, Berkeley at student demonstrations in May organized by a new anti-war group, the Vietnam Day Committee, where a coffin was marched to the local Draft board office, a teach-in was attended by 30,000, and president Lyndon Johnson was burned in effigy.

First anti Vietnam war demonstration in London outside the U.S. embassy. May 1965.

- Protests were held in June on the steps of the Pentagon, and in August, attempts were made by activists at Berkeley to stop trains carrying troops from moving.

While the draft was clearly a big factor in the stronger protests, it is also true that Americans have generally become more passive in the face of wrongful government actions.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

With the major 'anti-war' organizations actually supporting Obama's Afghan escalation -- http://www.gnn.tv/articles/3982/Obama_s_War -- what's a body to do?
I like how they've branded Obama's Afghan war as 'sustainable' -- as if bombing Afghan families out of their bed is like hanging your sheets out on a clothesline, instead of throwing them in a dryer. The cynicism of these people is breath-taking.

March 30, 2009 7:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The situation in Afghanistan is more akin to Vietnam in the months before Saint JFK murdered Diem. We're sending in 'advisors' and social workers -- the same as Kennedy sent in Peace Corps on the same planes as Green Berets. Karzai has been as much as threatened with coup. Thus his fawning support for Obama's war plans.
One development that's a bit different: Obama's attacking villages in Pakistan at this stage of the game (Nixon's bombing Laos and Cambodia was an act of pique, not part of any strategy). It's almost as if he's trying to spark an uprising against the weak and unpopular gov't there. If Pakistan's gov't falls, well, holy shit.

March 30, 2009 8:01 AM  
Anonymous let's not be too philosophical about death even if it is inevitable. said...

Hasn't it always been an axiom of empire that it's better to have a colonial gov't.to aid in pacifying the populace, i.e., one entity to deal with, than a bunch of raving barbarians? What's some especially sweet/sour consequence of American empire is that Americans are now getting a taste of the fascism they've been exporting for centuries. I've always said fascism and the holocaust were the inevitable consequences of unfettered capitalism.

April 1, 2009 5:20 PM  
Anonymous philosophical said...

"The moonshine is the sunshine,
shinin' twenty minutes later.
Crock-o-dile is juuust another word for alligator.
The greatest one is one,
and always knew that he was greater.
And the straightest line is crooked,
and it can't get any straighter.

My fam-o-lee is juuust a tree
and I'm just one of the branches.
I know a man he hates to farm,
but he owns a dozen ranches.
I'd love to change the world.
I just can't see quite how.
I been complainin' since I was five years old,
and I'm still complainin' now.

Jeffrey Cain via the Youngbloods

April 1, 2009 5:51 PM  

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