U.S. Views on Afghan War
Gallup offers some new polling data on U.S. views of Afghanistan and of General Petraeus:
Frank Newport offers his analysis:
Gallup finds both good news and bad news for Gen. Petraeus in this July 8-11 poll. He takes his new job as commander of U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan with a remarkably positive image among Americans who know who he is. At the same time, Petraeus now faces the additional challenge of commanding a mission that the majority of Americans say is going badly. Americans' views of the situation in Iraq improved during and after Petraeus' tenure as commander in that country. The degree to which Petraeus will be able to shift Americans' perceptions of the war in Afghanistan in similar fashion will have important consequences in many arenas, including the politics of the war in the U.S.
I think this last line is the key to understanding the surge, which is why I don't believe we can say definitively yet whether it has worked or not. The key metric is less what it does in Afghanistan, but the impression it leaves in Washington.