The WaPo has a front-pager today about the eerily even divide among the electorate on the issue of Iraq that is chock full of all sorts of fun polling numbers: 50% of Americans support a timetable for withdrawl, 49% don't; 48% think Obama would be an effective commmander of the armed forces, 48% don't; 47% trust McCain more to deal with Iraq, 45% prefer Obama.

Some number are more depressing. For instance, 63% of Americans believe that the Iraq war has not been worth the cost (a number I find depressing not because I supported the war, but because I did not and yet cannot imagine we're going to find a good way out before this number climbs even higher.) 

But here's the figure that really caught my eye and the one which the Bush administration should find most shameful--if indeed it had the capacity for shame. At this point, only 51% of Americans believe the war in Afghanistan to have been worth fighting. This despite the fact that that wretched, utterly dysfunctional country was home base for the Taliban, al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. The bulk of the 9-11 butchers may have originally hailed from Saudi Arabia, but they took their orders and inspiration from the utterly reprehensible fundamentalist nutters running amok in Afghanistan. 

Alas, the Bush adminstration has done such a sad, scatter-shot job with its War on Terror that most people don't know what to think about our little Afghan adventure now. Fifty-one percent of Americans also say the military action there has been unsuccessful--a view surely fed by the fact that the Taliban has regrouped in the tribal areas of Pakistan and is conducting a nasty guerilla war against the current Afghan government.

By allowing itself to become distracted from Afghanistan--not to mention babbling on dishonestly and confusingly about the nonexistent connections between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda--the Bushies have managed to convince much of America that we never should have bothered in the first place. This is outrageous. Afghanistan should have sent a loud, definitive signal to hostile regimes worldwide about the power and commitment of American power. Instead, barely half of this country thinks we've done a decent enough job to justify the entire endeavor. 

Pathetic. I'd be depressed if I weren't so royally brassed off.

--Michelle Cottle