For some reason.
For some reason.
A new poll conducted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs shows an overwhelming opposition to the idea of attacking Iran among American voters, with 70 percent saying they are opposed to the idea of a unilateral US attack on Iran.
The poll showed a declining number of Americans considering Iran’s civilian nuclear program a “threat” to American interests, and solid majorities opposed US involvement in an Iran war authorized by the UN or in joining an Israeli attack on Iran.
Perhaps the biggest shift in sheer numbers was in ground attacks on terrorist training camps. In 2002 the poll showed an 82 percent majority wanting such attacks, while now that has shrunk to only 54 percent.
The shift reflects Americans’ increasing desire to stay out of international adventures, coming just months before a US presidential election in which both candidates are taking hawkish positions.
Even with the passage of a sort of healthcare reform, the ludicrously and optimistically named Affordable Care Act, most Americans still tell pollsters that they would prefer a Canadian-style plan in which the government provides health insurance coverage for all, paid for by taxation. For decades this has been true. In 1988, a Harvard University/Harris poll found 61% favoring a Canadian-style so-called “single-payer” healthcare system. By 1990, the LA Times found support for such a system had risen to 66%, while in 1991, the Wall Street Journal found public support had reached an astonishing 69%. In 2003, the Washington Post and ABC-TV found 62% in favor of extending Medicare, the government health program for those over 65, to cover everyone. In 2007, despite decades of anti-government ideological rhetoric, CNN found that 64% favored government health insurance for all. In 2009, as the Obama administration was flat-out refusing to even discuss the idea of Medicare-for-all, or a Canadian-style health program, the Kaiser Family Foundation, which is associated with a private health insurance organization, found 58% of Americans nonetheless were in favor of a Canadian-style health program. So far, however, neither the President nor Congress or either of the country’s two political parties will even consider a national health program.
On Britain’s (much more) sour mood towards the Afghanistan war, and their own issues with “lawfare”:
Last week’s massacre of 16 Afghan civilians in Panjwai by an American serviceman, and the death of six British soldiers in Afghanistan the previous week, have focused attention on the support, or lack of it, among the public for Britain’s continued military presence in the country. A YouGov survey, for example, found that the proportion calling for withdrawal of British troops either “immediately” or “soon” rose to 78 per cent after the British deaths, and 79 per cent following the civilian killings. Parallels have been drawn between the Panjwai murders and the My Lai massacre of 16 March 1968 (“one of those seminal incidents that changed public perception of the Vietnam War”).
One could be forgiven for thinking that the latest, well-publicised, outrages might indeed prove something of a tipping point, and that the opposition of a war-weary public might influence policy makers. It is over a decade since British forces joined the US-led attack on Afghanistan; the death of the six soldiers brought the British tally of war dead to 400; it is six years since Democratic Audit launched a campaign, in the shadow of the illegal invasion of Iraq, against Britain’s unaccountable system for war policy; and a year ago this week, the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, said: “We will enshrine in law for the future the necessity of consulting Parliament on military action”.
Yet we did not need to wait for the ritual confirmation by David Cameron and Ed Miliband that “the mission” in Afghanistan would continue regardless, to know that the British Prime Minister remains almost uniquely insulated from shifts in public opinion towards war. On the contrary, democratic accountability for the decision to deploy British troops remains both formally engineered out of the British constitution, and kept that way by a combination of cultural and political factors.
[The] dearth of Iraq War opponents in the GOP field in anything approaching their proportions in the rank-and-file — and the concerted decision of the GOP establishment, Fox News, and National Review to ignore or dismiss rather than engage Ron Paul and Gary Johnson — is ensuring that a major disagreement about foreign policy on the right is papered over rather than being hashed out. Should Paul advance in the primaries, it will probably mean a major reckoning about foreign policy at an inconvenient time for Republicans. And if Paul loses it’ll help explain why the GOP has a difficult time retaining the votes and energy of his supporters in the general election.
Remarking on the current issue of National Review, wherein the magazine goes all out to discredit Newt Gingrich, media critic Jay Rosen writes, “Reality-based Republicans decided not to have the big fight with the other kind of Republicans before this, so.” Some weeks from now, it may also be true that, having decided to avoid an intra-right argument about Iraq for all these years, the conservative movement is going to have it at the height of the Republican primary.
That isn’t ideal for the right. On the other hand, we have elections so that political elites are forced to ground their behavior in the views and preferences of the people. On foreign policy, Paul is the vehicle for advancing the views of a lot of Republicans who wouldn’t get heard otherwise.
Asked in 1995 to comment on the War on Drugs, William F. Buckley told the New York Bar Association that perhaps it should be ended. Waging it seemed to him counterproductive and unjust. “It is outrageous to live in a society whose laws tolerate sending young people to life in prison because they grew, or distributed, a dozen ounces of marijuana,” he stated. And the magazine he founded soon followed suit. In 1996, National Review published a brave editorial declaring that “the war on drugs has failed,” adding that “we all agree on movement toward legalization, even though we may differ on just how far.” It was brave because just one in four Americans favored legalizing marijuana back then, and most of them weren’t movement conservatives.
Today 50 percent of Americans favor legalizing marijuana, according to a new poll released by Gallup. That’s a milestone. Among liberals, 69 percent want to end prohibition. Just 34 percent of conservatives agree. The prohibitionist cause is nevertheless doomed by demographics. “Support for legalizing marijuana is directly and inversely proportional to age,” Gallup reports, “ranging from 62 percent approval among those 18 to 29 down to 31 percent among those 65 and older.” The only question is how many more lives prohibition will destroy over how many years before voters end it.
If current trends persist, full legalization of marijuana will be a presidential issue as soon as Election 2016. And if the Republican nominee in 2012 is savvy, he’ll take advantage of this information: “A Gallup survey last year found that 70 percent favored making it legal for doctors to prescribe marijuana in order to reduce pain and suffering. Americans have consistently been more likely to favor the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes than to favor its legalization generally.”
An overwhelming number of voters believe the United States is involved in too many foreign conflicts and should pull back its troops, according to a new poll conducted for The Hill.
Seventy-two percent of those polled said the United States is fighting in too many places, with only 16 percent saying the current level of engagement represented an appropriate level. Twelve percent said they weren’t sure.