A new survey shows Americans are souring on President Barack Obama's efforts to fight Islamic State (IS) insurgents in the Middle East, with some believing he is doing too little, while others say he has broken his pledge to end U.S. military involvement in the region.
The Associated Press-GfK poll found that more than six in 10 of those surveyed in mid-October reject Obama's response to the IS advances in Iraq and Syria. More than a year ago, he authorized a massive aerial bombardment of IS targets in both countries and recently, after the survey was completed, dispatched 50 Special Operations troops to Syria to advise Kurdish and Arab forces fighting the insurgents.
But support for his anti-IS campaign has been waning, with 38 percent approval at the moment compared to an even split for and against in September 2014.
After a decade of U.S. military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, the American leader had pledged to disentangle the U.S. from the battlegrounds. But now, with 15 months left in his presidency, the U.S. is likely to be fighting in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan as he leaves office in January 2017.
The U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001, to attack al-Qaida targets in the month after the terrorist attacks in the U.S. that killed nearly 3,000 people. Obama has withdrawn most U.S. troops, but now says he will maintain a bigger residual force than he had once hoped.
The AP poll said that 71 percent of Americans think history will judge the U.S. effort in Afghanistan as more of a failure than a success, with 26 percent saying it will be viewed as a success.
His congressional critics, mostly Republican lawmakers, and some of the party's presidential contenders looking to succeed him say that his campaign against the IS represents too weak a response. Other critics, mostly Democrats who support the president on many foreign and domestic issues, say Obama has turned on his promise to end the lengthy U.S. military involvement in the region.
The Obama response to IS is likely to play a key role in the debate leading up to next year's presidential election, with some Republican candidates calling for sending U.S. ground troops to the region, a stance Obama has rejected. The leading Democratic contender, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has called for a U.S.-imposed no-fly zone in Syria, another position Obama has spurned.
Some information is from AP.