Mars in the descendant
America is tired of war. That would suit Barack Obama, if not for the one he entered in Libya
Jun 23rd 2011 | from the print edition
“I VENTURE to say that no war can be long carried on against the will of the people.” Edmund Burke should be alive today. None of America’s several wars is popular. According to a Pew Research poll this week, a majority of Americans (56%) now believe that their troops should come home from Afghanistan as soon as possible. Only 39% favour waiting for the situation there to stabilise, even though most still think that the original decision to go to war was right. In the case of Libya there was never any equivalent enthusiasm to intervene in the fighting between Muammar Qaddafi and the rebels. And most Americans are delighted that the present plan is to quit Iraq by the end of this year.
America has reason to be war-weary. Since September 2001 it has spent some $1.3 trillion on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, in which some 6,000 service personnel have died. Even conservative Republicans, the group keenest on “staying the course”, have started to tell pollsters that America should pay less attention to problems overseas and more to the growing ones at home. In their New Hampshire debate several Republican presidential candidates joined the cry to bring the boys home—“as soon as we possibly can,” said Mitt Romney, the putative front-runner.