Opinion: As the House votes today, public support fades for President Obama’s military actions against Libya
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Americans’ support for President Obama’s attacks against Libya is suddenly crumbling.
A new Gallup poll out this morning finds that more than three months into the air assaults that were supposed to last days, not weeks, Americans are now more likely to disapprove than approve of the Democrat’s military action.
The poll comes just two days after Obama, noting Americans’ war fatigue with the 10-year conflict in Afghanistan, rejected more cautious advice from generals and ordered a sharp drawdown in American troops before the 2012 presidential election.
House Speaker John Boehner says that body will vote today on two resolutions on the Libyan war, one to limit the U.S. role in the allied action and one to support it, although the president has not sought such support nor authorization for the ongoing combat.
In a speech nine days after the first missiles struck, Obama said the air attacks on regime forces prevented bloodshed. He justified the attacks as being in the U.S. national interest because they prevented a possible ‘humanitarian crisis’ of dictator Moammar Kadafi‘s troops killing innocent civilians.
Last week, in documentation delivered to Congress, the president said the conflict has so far cost in excess of $700 million and is projected to cost more than $1 billion by September.
He stated that the missiles, bombings and strafings are not hostilities, a claim that Boehner said ‘defies rational thought.’
Obama says such ongoing normal military activities with NATO allies are therefore not subject to the 1973 War Powers Act requiring presidential notification of Congress and approval or cessation within 90 days.
The 90-day limit on the Libyan action expired last Sunday. Bipartisan anger at Obama’s attitude has been growing in recent days.
‘This is primarily a fight between the Congress and the president over his unwillingness to consult with us before making this decision,’ the Republican said.
The new Gallup poll finds that overall American attitudes toward this third ongoing Middle Eastern conflict have shifted from 47% approve-37% disapprove in late March to 39% approve-46% disapprove on June 22.
Democrats’ support for the attacks on Libya and Kadafi has remained stable since the assaults began March 19 as Obama toured South America.
Attitudes on the assault shifted most sharply among Republicans, with approval plummeting from 57% to 39% while disapproval climbed from 31% to 47%.
Among independents, who were a crucial part of Obama’s victorious electoral coalition in 2008, approval dropped from 38% to 31% while disapproval rose from 44% to 52%, the highest disapproval among all political affiliations.
Gallup’s questions probing voter objections determined they had little to do with the authorization issue that preoccupies Congress. That bothered only 29%.
However, 64% felt the United States simply shouldn’t be involved in Libya at all.
-- Andrew Malcolm
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