President Barack Obama’s military action against the forces of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has garnered the lowest approval rating of any American military operation in almost three decades, a new Gallup poll reveals.
Only 47 percent of respondents said they approve of American intervention in Libya, according to the survey conducted days after the United States joined other countries in conducting airstrikes against Libyan government forces.
This comes on the heels of a Reuters/Ipsos survey which found only 17 percent of Americans view Obama as a “strong and decisive” military leader, while 48 percent said his leadership as commander in chief is “cautious and consultative,” and 36 percent said it was “indecisive and dithering.”
The Gallup poll found that “no demographic subgroup shows particularly strong support for the current U.S. military action against Libya, with postgraduates’ (60 percent) and Republicans’ (57 percent) the highest among major subgroups.”
Overall, 37 percent of respondents said they disapprove of the Libyan venture, and 16 percent had no opinion.
Americans showed the highest level of support for the October 2001 military action in Afghanistan that came in response to the 9/11 terror attacks — that garnered a 90 percent approval rating, Gallup said.
Americans also widely supported U.S. airstrikes against Iraq in January 1993 (83 percent), and the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003 (76 percent) under President George W. Bush.
Support for the current involvement in Libya is also much lower than support for American airstrikes against Libya in April 1986 following the Libyan bombing of a German nightclub that killed two American servicemen. That attack had an approval rating of 71 percent.
The American attack on purported terrorist facilities in Afghanistan and Sudan in August 1998 was favorably viewed by 66 of Gallup respondents. U.S. intervention in Somalia in June 1993 had an approval rating of 65 percent.
A majority of respondents, 54 percent, said they approved of the invention of American troops in Haiti in September 1994, and 53 percent favored the invasion of Grenada in October 1983.
Before the new Libya poll, the lowest approval rating belonged to the intervention of the U.S. and allies in Kosovo and Serbia in 1999.
Gallup did not conduct a poll regarding the 1991 Persian Gulf War or the U.S. invasion of Panama in 1991. But after the Panama invasion, President George H.W. Bush’s approval rating soared to 80 percent, the highest rating in a Gallup poll of any president since World War II, CNS News reported.
The results of the new Libya poll are especially significant because “in the past, the public's views on military actions have changed in response to the progress or lack of progress of those ventures. Usually, the longer the United States is involved in a military operation, the more support drops.”
But this poll was taken just days after U.S. forces launched their attacks.
Award-winning journalist Arnaud de Borchgrave told Newsmax that President Obama deserves low marks for his handling of the situation in Libya.
“I don’t think anybody can figure out why we’re involved,” said de Borchgrave, director of the Transnational Threats Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, who has interviewed Gadhafi six times.
“America’s interests have nothing to do with Libya. Our interests are in the Persian Gulf where there is plenty of political and military action already. Libya is a European problem.”
He also told Newsmax the Obama administration doesn’t “have a good handle on who the insurgents are.
“They could be Hezbollah. They could be Hamas. They could be partly al-Qaida. They could be Tehran’s theocrats.”
Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., is also critical of the administration’s handling of Libya.
“I am concerned that President Barack Obama has not provided a clear and defined mission for the United States involvement in Libya,” West, a former Army Lieutenant Colonel, said in a statement.
“We have now opened up a new combat front with no clear objective or end state. I call on President Obama to explain to the American people what is the final resolution to the United States involvement in Libya.”
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