To reverse a sharp drop in public support for the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Obama should go far beyond an 'update' on his administration's review of the war.
And in that key battleground, Mr. Obama is not winning hearts and minds.
Polls show a sharp rise in the percentage of Americans who say the war in Afghanistan is not worth fighting. Instead of 40 percent opposing it a year ago when Obama took full ownership of the war, now 60 percent do. And that may rise.
This decline of support for the longest war in American history violates a key lesson from the country’s second longest war (Vietnam): The US cannot win a war without popular support; otherwise, it will need to retreat, hurting America’s reputation as well as its armed forces.
Obama did use the review for a mid-day televised pressroom briefing today to report on progress made so far and the challenges still ahead. The US appears on track to start a troop pullout in July, to finally hand off the effort to Afghan forces in 2014, and to ensure long-term US support beyond that.
New military tactics, such as night raids on homes suspected of harboring terrorists, combined with a surge of 30,000 new troops and more drone attacks on Taliban hideouts in Pakistan, have the enemy on the defensive – for now.