Friday, December 17, 2010

Afghanistan: Worth It?

An ABC News/Washington Post poll says no:

A record 60 percent of Americans say the war in Afghanistan has not been worth
fighting, a grim assessment -- and a politically hazardous one -- in advance of
the Obama administration's one-year review of its revised strategy.
Well, let's have at that, shall we? Sixty percent of Americans in a poll. Now, as we know, most, if not all, polls like this are conducted by contacting Americans on land lines. Cell phones are not used (for whatever reason). That means that the vast majority of respondents in the polls are older Americans, since a great number of younger Americans don't have land lines anymore (unless, like me, they have to because cell reception sucks in their neighborhoods).

Now, it's not a stretch to say that Fox News is the most popular news channel among older Americans (show of hands of those who disagree... no one? OK, moving on). Well, as a recent University of Maryland study shows, those who watched Fox News almost daily were significantly more likely to be misinformed about a great many issues, including economic and foreign policy. The poll also suggested that Fox News watchers were, in general, less intelligent than non-Fox News watchers. Therefore, what are we to make of a poll of people who might be of lesser intelligence and misinformed about many things because they watched Fox News all the time? What are we to make of a poll of Americans who, since they are land-line owners, are probably older and watch a lot of Fox News (I keep typing "Fix News" for some reason, hmmmm), probably hate our Kenyan, Muslim, schvartze President?

Okay, okay, it's a stretch, I admit. But I believe the poll is misleading because of the way the poll is conducted. If you ask Americans, "Since there has not been another terrorist attack on American soil since we invaded Afghanistan, and since the Taliban has not returned to power in that country since the US defeated them, would you say that it was worth it to invade and occupy the country?" I think the answer would be much different.

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