Do you support Canada’s troops presently in Afghanistan?And that's about as good as it gets for Afghanistan support. almost 4 out of 10 Canadians answer no to the question "do you support Canada's troops presently in Afghanistan?", which is roughly like answering that you dislike puppies, or ice cream. But it gets worse:
Yes: 63 %
No: 37 %
Do you support Parliament’s decision to extend the mission in Afghanistan until 2009?So at best we have a bare majority of support for this war, but the obvious conclusion is that Canada is profoundly divided over it. This question, howwever, is my favourite. Despite 6 months or so of every informed voice (and many more uninformed voices) clamoring for NATO to send more troops to Afghanistan, the Canadian people are unequivocal in their response:
Yes: 57 %
No: 43 %
Do you agree or disagree with NDP leader Jack Layton’s position that resources In Afghanistan should be reconstituted and redirected so that more resources are allocated for reconstruction and less on conflict?
Agree: 47 %
Disagree: 53 %
The United States is considering more troops to Iraq, should Canada send more troops to Afghanistan?So 3 out of 4 Canadians are opposed to sending more troops, which is convenient because I don't know where we'd find them anyway. Meanwhile, there's quite clearly some overlap of the people who believe that our troops should stay in Afghanistan, fighting this war, but should under no circumstances be offered Canadian reinforcements. Meanwhile, a sizeable chunk of Canadians continue to believe that this would all be won and over if our other NATO allies would ante up. I am, as always, unconvinced.
Yes: 26 %
No: 74 %
The very simple question remains for people who support this war: If we aren't willing to send more troops (and we clearly aren't), and our allies aren't (equally clear) but everyone agrees this is doomed to failure without said troops, what the hell are we doing there? Who will we blame when this goes balls-up on us?
I'm sure the Tories will say it was all the NDP's fault by simply raising the issue for debate, but think about that for a second: our Afghanistan policy drifted in obscure autopilot well after the last election. Prime Minister Harper pushed, hard, to make himself the "military" Prime Minister in a way that neither Chrétien or Martin ever did. And the moment he did that -- the moment the Prime Minister brought this issue in to the limelight, and the moment Canadians gave it serious thought -- the support started dropping. This was never a role our troops had broad, strong public support for, which is why it shouldn't have happened. But then, I'm a wild-eyed crazy person who believes in things like the will of the people.
The funny thing is, I think this poll is probably being very charitable for Conservatives. I haven't seen other polls ask the "sending more troops question", but the numbers in this poll may very well be as good as it gets.