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According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey of Americans conducted from Dec. 17 to 19 (immediately after Obama's public reassurances), 63 percent of the respondents expressed opposition to U.S. involvement in Afghanistan -- an all-time high.
For those who think Afghan opinion also matters, recent polling conducted by the BBC, ABC, and other news organizations shows that, in provinces where there is the most fighting, the proportion of people approving of attacks on U.S. troops has risen from 12 to 40 percent in the last year.
Since Gen. Petraeus loves metrics for gauging the progress of his counterinsurgency strategies, he might want to put those numbers into one of his PowerPoint displays about his success at winning hearts and minds.
As Harry Truman was fond of saying, most of us were "not born yesterday." Those able to think outside the Fox box can discern when artificial alliteration and dubious logic masquerade as articulation of sound policy.
It may take a couple of run-throughs of this background, but Americans are inclined to "dis" (to use inner-city vernacular) artifices like "disrupt, dismantle, defeat" as empty slogans hiding a lamentable lack of cogent thinking.
I find myself asking, a la John Kerry before he let the imperial Establishment do a lobotomy cutting the connection to the Vietnam file in his brain, "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?"
Maybe it is too much to expect today's John Kerry to do better than his timorous predecessor as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Vice President Joe Biden.
In the run-up to President George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq, Biden caved in to strong White House pressure and staged faux hearings featuring the kind of "experts" who predicted that an invasion of WMD-laden Iraq would be a "cakewalk," and shunning those of us predicting catastrophe.
Et tu, John? One can always pray for miracles, but the current Foreign Relations Committee chairman appears to be the same empty shirt who let himself be persuaded by his handlers in the 1990s that his dreams for political advancement required making peace with the Establishment.
Sadly, it's almost impossible to envision Kerry converting back to the more courageous politician of his early days in the U.S. Senate when he challenged the Reagan administration's foreign policy, let alone to the gutsy young Navy officer who in 1971 confronted the same committee he now chairs.
This article first appeared at Consortiumnews.com.