Friday, April 23, 2010

Opposition to Afghan War Hardening

On Wednesday, Angus-Reid released its latest poll on the war in Afghanistan. More and more people are beginning to oppose our role there.Whereas support of the war was at 47% in February, Angus-Reid has found that support for the "military operation involving Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan" has dropped to only 39%. Opposition is now at 56%.

Support comes mostly from Atlantic Canada (54%) and Alberta and the Prairies (50%). Opposition is strongest in British Columbia (56%) and Quebec, where fully 75% of people oppose our military operation in the Central Asian country.

Forty-two percent of Canadians now believe that sending troops to Afghanistan was a mistake (62% in Quebec) while only 36% believe it was the right thing to do (54% in Atlantic Canada). A good portion remains undecided, which is probably the safer place to be. How things will turn out in Afghanistan remains to be seen, though with the trouble that country has had for all of its history, it is hard to believe things will get much better.

Undoubtedly, the recent Afghan detainee issue and the government's refusal to release all documents about it has played a role in this souring of opinion.A majority of Canadians, or 53%, believe that the federal government has provided too little information about the war. Only 33% believe the government has provided too much or the right amount.

While the detainee issue is a factor that won't be going away any time soon, our role in the country is not going to be an electoral issue. All parties agree that our soldiers will be pulled out soon, so there is no ballot question where we must decide whether we want to stay or go.

It would be interesting if one of the pollsters would survey the public's perception of how the various parties stand on the issue. The Conservatives have committed to pulling out in 2011, but do many Canadians believe the Tories support extending the mission? Are they aware of the NDP and Bloc's adamant opposition? If the public is well-informed about each party's stance, then the Afghan War is removed as an electoral issue. But if they aren't...


  1. That poll essentially mirrors what I have heard talking to people over the last year. A significant hardening of opposition to the Afghan war.

    Also seems to mirror what we hear from other NATO countries. Virtually all, with the possible exception of the USA, want out.

    The Dutch had a Govt fall over the issue, others may do the same.

    MacKay recently said something about it being extended. Not going to fly IMO

  2. It is fortunate that we live in a world where even if Canadian politics/public opinion undermines our mission in the Khandahar, it will still get done due to American resolve.

    I understand why many Canadians are opposed to staying.

    Every time I see that another young man has lost his life in a far away dust-hole, in support of what seems to be the most corrupt democracy in the world, it affects me.

    Even so, it is good for us that we don't have to make the choice between losing everthing we have gained by pulling out.

    The Americans will have our back, and Canada will get to slip out the back door with some honour.

    This opinion poll doesn't improve my opinion of Canadians.

    I wonder what a poll of the CF would show?

    I'd guess widespread support for staying, and a strong belief that what they are doing over there is right, and making a positive difference.

    It's a shame that Canadians in general, don't have the stomach to finish what we started.

  3. I think it's fairer to see we had America' back, not the other way around. We went there in support of the US. Had the Americans put in the full effort we had from the beginning, perhaps the situation would be different there today.

    It's been ten years, and the US thwarted our best chance of victory by becoming more heavily involved in Iraq. The US should be grateful, as I'm sure they are, that we stuck it out as long as we did considering the mistakes they've made.

  4. "I wonder what a poll of the CF would show?"

    I suspect that a lot of CF members are seeing the war in Afghanistan and totally pointless and a waste of lives and money. There are probably others who are in denial because they don't want to admit that everything they have been doing for the past eight years in that country was a total waste!

    Let's face it - the war in Afghanistan has accomplished ABSOLUTELY NOTHING...NADA!

    Bin Laden is in Pakistan - anyone want NATO to invade Pakistan and occupy a country of 200 million people??

  5. Have to agree with Eric on that.

    We've more than done our share. It seems some can't accept that there comes a time when it is necessary to stop.

    As to the snark about the USA. I think we did more than pull our weight while they went off an buggered Iraq.

    When are we going to learn to stay out of their "adventures" ??

  6. Eric's right. We're in Afghanistan for one reason and one reason only: we're backing up the US, not vice versa. We don't owe it to them to stay longer. They screwed things up by invading Iraq; they screwed things up by maintaining poppy eradication long after it became obvious it was counterproductive. We've been in there for nearly a decade, and I think we have every reason to oppose a mission backing up an undemocratic, election-fixing, corrupt government, a mission where we're killing a large number of innocent civilians ourselves. We're not going to make the US any safer by staying longer, and we're not going to fix Afghanistan.

    If what we're interested in is helping people, we could do exponentially more by transferring the amount of money we're spending on this war to fighting disease, sending people to school, and getting people access to clean water. When nobody outside a war zone dies from malnutrition or contaminated water, malaria or tuberculosis or AIDS, when every child in the world has the opportunity to go to school and child labour is eliminated, when the illegal slave trade has been ended - then maybe, maybe, there will be some slight credence to arguments that "humanitarian intervention" with military force is a plausible way to make the world a better place.

  7. This America bashing from all the above commentators, save AJR79, is unfortunate.

    We did the best we could. So did the Americans.

    Why can't we stop the blame game and just leave it at that ?

  8. I was never a supporter of the invasion of Iraq from both a stategic, and cost/benifit standpoint.

    That being said, with that war now being wound down and leaving what looks like an impressive result, history may prove me wrong, and George W right. (unbelievably!)

    Conflating the last administrations handling of it's foreign policy, and it's war in Iraq, with what stands before us now, is not helpful IMHO.

    Obama has an impressive team in place, and Pakistan has been coming onside lately. I see alot of reasons to be hopeful for the future of the region.

    If they were to recklessly cut and run, the dangers of leaving the Af/Pak border to fester, with a nuclear armed powderkeg so near, would be a big mistake.

    The current POTUS will not be doing that, and I wish we would leave a taken 500-600 troops in combat roles (make it voluntary service)

    It's not our military might the Americans need, but the legitimacy Canadas involvment lends.

    Long story short: I hope the Yanks pull it off. It will take time and resolve to do so thou.

  9. This poll makes it clear that Canadians simply don't want to be part of the Afghan mission anymore.

    And unlike AJR79 says, this isn't about Canada's "honour"; I'm personally in favour of continued participation in Afghanistan, but not a combat role, but I realize that our forces need a break, we need to hit the reset button and re-evaluate our priorities in this field, and figure out where things went wrong and how in the future, if something like this crops up, and I assure you it will, what we can do differently.

    We can't stay there out of "honour" - we're tired, lets give ourselves a rest. We done good.

  10. We did the best we could. So did the Americans.

    Yes we did. Then the USA went off and screwed everything up by destroying Iraq!! You can't have everything Shadow.

    It's unsustainable !

  11. Afghanistan was a good idea, poorly executed (mostly because the Americans decided to abandon the mission and go invade Iraq for no reason at all).

    At this point, the best path for Canada is to get the hell out as soon as possible.

  12. Eric

    There is a corollary here if you like. Most Mid East countries were appalled by 9/11. When the US went after Afghanistan this was viewed as a) Retribution and b) probably a good thing as Afghanistan was known to be essentially a wreck after the Soviets left.

    Then the US invaded Iraq and everything changed. Not only was there universal condemnation in the Mid East but the view on the Afghan situation changed dramatically. From sort of support it went almost overnight to complete rejection.

    That was followed by implicit if not actual support for the Taliban.

    So we land in the middle of this mess into Kabul. Several years of "peace keeping" there and then Harper comes in along with Hillier and it all changes again. We move to Kandahar, centre of Taliban activity, and the deaths and injuries increase. We do more or less hold our own.

    But in the end we aren't big enough in terms of troops to actually change anything and meanwhile the natives views of us change as more of them are killed or injured by our activities. Not a good scene and now the people we are supposed to be helping just want us gone. And I can't blame them really.

    Definitely time for is to go.

  13. That's such a canard, this bussiness about the Iraq war ruining the mission in Afghanistan.

    It has no basis in military fact.

    Its a political illusion democrats created in 2004 so John Kerry didn't look weak/anti-war. Afghanistan was the "good war" he supported, Iraq the bad one.

    The belief at the time was that a small footprint inside Afghanistan was nessecary to prevent the perception that America was an occupying force and that the embryonic Afghan gov't was a puppet regime. There was never a resource or troop shortage because of Iraq, rather a deliberate strategy to let the Afghans take the lead to develop independent capabilities.

    Peter and Ira i'm dissapointed you've bought into political spin hook line and sinker.

  14. Peter and Ira i'm dissapointed you've bought into political spin hook line and sinker.

    No you are disappointed we don't roll over for your specious spin. Truth to tell your credibility here is in the crapper by virtually all posters.

    Sorry but that's REALITY !!

  15. The amount of money and men going into Afghanistan decreased a great deal when Iraq was getting going. It's also certainly accurate that the United States' armed forces began experiencing recruiting difficulties and changed their entry standards as a result of decreasing enrollment and increasing demand for soldiers.

    It's also undeniable that the attentions of authorities, the media, and the public became overwhelmingly directed towards Iraq and Afghanistan went relatively ignored when things were at their worst in Iraq. Attitudes against the west also hardened among the more far-flung recruitment pools for the the Taliban
    which would naturally make things more difficult.

    DOD spending on Iraq and Afghanistan:

    Now I suppose someone could have chosen, (Someone more like Rumsfeld and not Colin Powell) to do something on the cheap, but it was clear that there were shortages resulting from Iraq, and little attention was paid to Afghanistan.

  16. Face it Shadow, the war in Afghanistan has been a FLOP and great big FLOP. End of story.

  17. DL, Peter i'm not one of those guys who secretly hopes for American defeat in Iraq because I view that nation as smug.

    I honestly and sincerely hope they have some measure of victory and I still believe the possibility exists.

    Just not with Canadian troops for awhile.

  18. We have done more than our fair share in Afghanistan.

    We have sacrificed 140+ of our brave men and women.

    We have wasted blood and treasure there.

    It's time to end our combat mission as scheduled in 2011.

    It's time to bring our guys, and gals home.

    It is also assinine to say Bush's misadventure in Iraq, did not have an effect on Afghanistan.

  19. DL, Peter i'm not one of those guys who secretly hopes for American defeat in Iraq because I view that nation as smug.

    'Sheesh !!

    Can't even get the right war !!

    We're NOT in Iraq !! Get used to it !!

  20. New IR Poll:

  21. As always, will wait until IR posts it on their website.

  22. Earl thanks for the tip !

    A polling service and a news writeup from firms NOT involved in a widening scandal.

    Turns out Tory lawyers have contacted the CBC ombudsman. If Graves was advising the Liberals using insights gleaned from his polling it would constitute the indirect use of tax payer money to pay for Liberal consulting.

    Sponsorship scandal v 2.0!

    Graves can't stop digging though. Today he claimed that the CPC and Alberta are full of homophobes and racists and he can prove it empirically!

  23. AJR79 said...
    I wonder what a poll of the CF would show?

    For your information, Canada is a democracy, i.e. rule by citizens. Therefore whatever the general public thinks is most important.

    If we are governed by what the top brass of the military thinks, then that is a military junta. Think Kim Jong Il's North Korea, Pinochet's Chile, Moammar Qaddafi's Libya, etc.

  24. IR, is the pollster for the NP, and Canwest Global.

    NP, and Canwest Global, HATE the LPC, so there is a patently obvious bias to their polls.

    Darrell Bricker, also despises the LPC, so he slants his poll towards the CPC.

    IR, has the CPC, at 35%, and the LPC at 29% a shocking result.

    Because of this inherent bias I will subtract 3% from the CPC, and give it to the LPC there by making it a 32-32 tie.

    Also the NDP, and Green figures are wrong, so take 2% from the NDP, and give it to the LPC. that raises the LPC to 34%.

    The Green number is also wrong so I will also subtract 3% from them and give it to the LPC, they now stand at 37%

    Because of the IR bias I should also subtract another 2% off the CPC, and give it to the LPC.

    There is your real poll result, LPC 39% CPC 30%

    (In case anyone hasn't figured it out this is sarcasm, intended to show Shadow how riduculous he is starting to sound)

  25. That's such a canard, this bussiness about the Iraq war ruining the mission in Afghanistan.

    It has no basis in military fact

    Maybe you should be the one to practise what you preach Shadow.

    Why can't we stop the blame game and just leave it at that ?

    Good idea Shadow. so hush up and follow your own advice.

  26. 49 steps I wasn't aware that the Canwest group and Darrel Bricker were involved in a recent scandal.

    Oh right. They aren't.

    No need to apply any formula to this poll. Its not biased.

    Its more or less an accurate reflection of reality.

    BTW - This poll has the Liberals doing BETTER than EKOS did this week so your arguement looks rather silly.

    In fact there's usually very little variance amongst pollsters on the Liberal numbers. Its the CPC numbers that are wildly different, indicating something fishy is going on.

    My useful EKOS adjustment formula fixes that problem though and makes EKOS line up with reputable pollsters like Ipsos and AR.

  27. And Germany basically wants out to:,1518,690826,00.html

  28. 49

    What sort of appalls me is the presence of what can only be described as Neo-Con warmongers on here.

    It never works, just look at the US record for proof.

  29. YOu can be sure that Darrell Bricker despises Harper at least as much as he despises any Liberal - in the past three years, Ipsos's revenue from federal government contracts has been down about 70%!

  30. Let's get down to brass tacks, shall we?

    A) No foreign power has ever won a war in Afghanistan and that will never change;

    B) Karzai is a disgrace -- that government puts to shame all our own concepts of participatory democracy;

    C) What does it say about the Afghan military and police that with our "help" are still not competent enough to maintain internal security in their own country!!! Hello...

    D) Get the hell out of there pronto and reassign much of this funding to effective counter-terrorism in Canada. An attack is coming in Canada. It's a matter of when -- not if. How about beefing up our capacity to eventually deal with, to borrow Reagan's expression, "the awful, awful" before it happens;

    E) Forget Bin Laden. We will NEVER capture or kill him. He isn't anywhere near Afghanistan or Pakistan. Intelligence services know where he is -- and they also know they can't touch him, and more importantly WHY...can you say can of worms for a particular regime...

  31. My useful EKOS adjustment formula fixes that problem though and makes EKOS line up with reputable pollsters like Ipsos and AR.

    What he really means is that it allows him to adjust the results to correlate with what the Rabid Right blogs tells him they should be !!


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