Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Majority of Americans want U.S. troops to leave Afghanistan now that Osama bin Laden is dead




8 Jun 2011 11:04 Africa/Lagos


52% - 35% Majority Believes U.S. Should Leave Afghanistan Faster Now That Bin Laden Is Dead

Majority also favors making aid to Pakistan conditional on cooperation on pursuing Al Qaeda and the Taliban

PR Newswire

NEW YORK, June 8, 2011

NEW YORK, June 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A new BBC World News America/Harris Poll finds that a majority of Americans (52%) believe that the United States should move to get its troops out of Afghanistan now that Osama bin Laden is dead. However, 35% believe that U.S. troops should stay according to the existing plans. Reasons why most people favor withdrawing U.S. troops may be that a 51% to 14% majority of adults are not confident that U.S. policies in Afghanistan will be successful, and only 19% see the Afghan government as either an ally or a friend to the U.S. and 36% see it as unfriendly and an enemy.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100517/NY06256LOGO )

These are some of the findings of a new BBC World News America/ Harris Poll of 2,027 U.S. adults surveyed online between May 31 and June 2, 2011 by Harris Interactive.

Other interesting findings in the poll include:

* A large 66% to 20% majority of adults believes that it was better to have killed Osama bin Laden than to have captured him;
* An even larger 66% to 18% majority believe that "if the United States has very reliable information that a nationally wanted terrorist or criminal like Osama bin Laden is located in a foreign country.... that we have the right to perform a military operation within that country without notifying the government";
* The public is split on the impact of the killing of bin Laden on world opinion, with 41% thinking that it has made the United States more respected and 41% thinking has made no difference. Only 7% believe that it has made the U.S. less respected;
* Israel continues to enjoy very strong support among Americans, with 41% of adults seeing it as a close ally and a further 30% as a friend;
* The fall of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt have done nothing to improve U.S. attitudes to its government. In fact those who see the government of Egypt as a close ally or friend (43%) are somewhat lower now than when this question was asked in 2009 (52%) and 2010 (49%);
* More people see Pakistan as unfriendly and an enemy (29%) than as a friend or ally (20%); and,
* Many more people see the governments of Iraq and Afghanistan as unfriendly and enemies (38% and 36% respectively) than as friends or allies (22% and 19%). Attitudes to these two countries are only marginally less negative than they are to the government of Syria (16% friend or ally and 38% unfriendly and an enemy).


So What?

The killing of Osama bin Laden has done little to change the generally negative attitudes of Americans to the role of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Only 14% of adults are confident that U.S. policies there will be successful, virtually unchanged since two Harris polls in June and October last year.

Perhaps the most surprising findings in this poll are that many more people regard the governments of Afghanistan and Iraq as unfriendly and an enemy than as friends or allies, even though they were brought to power as a result of the U.S. invasions and have been kept in power by the presence of US troops.


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