The Afghanistan War is on shakier ground with each passing day. The Obama administration has been eying the conflict warily for some time, and the massacre of Afghani citizens by an errant soldier has forced the White House and its NATO allies to re-evaluate the conflict and its potential end date. According to reports, the Obama administration is weighing if it should speed up the withdrawal of the troops before the 2014 exit date. The 33,000 sent over as part of the surge in 2010 are scheduled to depart next summer, but that will leave 68,000 troops on the ground, and the administration is still considering whether to heed the advice of military leaders to leave the troops in place or to pack up and admit that the fight has become an impossible quagmire.
The doves in the administration have growing public sentiment on their side. A New York Times/CBS News poll released Monday revealed an American public increasingly weary of the conflict. A 69 percent majority said that the country should not be at war in Afghanistan, a sharp increase from 53 percent who held that view in the organizations' last poll four months ago. Americans are pessimistic about the direction the war has take: 68 percent it was going "very badly" or "somewhat badly," whereas just 42 percent fell into those camps in the November poll.
For the moment, international affairs don't look as though they will play a major role in the upcoming presidential election, but a lot can change over the course of the year. Obama has already fulfilled one major campaign pledge by removing combat troops from Iraq, but it has gone little noticed by a public watching continual reports of more lives lost in Afghanistan. The speed of withdrawal will be up for debate at a NATO summit in Chicago this May, and it should be clear to Obama that the voters who will decide his electoral fate are looking for some sort of definite conclusion to the conflict that has lasted for over a decade.
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