Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Public view of the war in Afghanistan: France vs. USA (updated)

Over at Secret Defense, Jean-Dominique Merchet points out the results of this new poll. It basically shows that 36% of the French and 57% percent of the American people interviewed favor the military intervention in Afghanistan.

Just to give some trends on French public opinion, a nice table (p.6) reminds us that 58% of French people favored intervention in Kosovo in 1999, 55% favored intervention in Afghanistan in 2001, 19% in Iraq in 2003, 55% in Darfur in 2007, and 45% in Afghanistan in July 2008.

The rest of the poll then provides data by political party, age, gender and profession (PS is Parti Socialiste, Modem is Bayrou's center right party and UMP is Sarkozy's party--one thing to remember on the French political spectrum, I view it as generally shifted left from the US spectrum so if you look at political platforms, the UMP and Modem would basically be the different factions within the Democratic Party here). It then does the same for US responders.

It's interesting and it shows clearly that the French public is increasingly oppposed to military intervention in Afghanistan.

So go take a look--I think even if your French is limited you should be able to get the gist of it.

Update: As John Henninger points out in the comments (I didn't get a chance to put it up last night so thanks for the reminder), the ABC/Washington Post issued this new poll yesterday.


  1. This when France is apparently considering leaving Kabul and consolidating its forces as a full BCT in RC-East....

  2. If the French would adopt one ANA Corps and super embedd one advisory BCT with it over many years and call their forces "noncombat advisors," it would be a major strategic contribution to the Afghan war. I think the French public might be more palatable to supporting an ANA that is overwhelmingly beloved and admired by the Afghan poeple. Perhaps the French could adopt 201st ANA Corps in the east. Heaven knows they need the help. Not to put to fine a point on it, but what in the world is 201 ANA's problem?

    203rd ANA (middle east) is pretty kick ass as is; it doesn't need the help. Let them keep their US advisors.

    205th ANA should probably be adopted by the Candadians, Dutch, Aussies, Danish and Brits.

  3. Anand, great point on the embedding of a whole Brigade. I have heard the US is going to take this approach with the 82nd Airborne and I applaud that. BTW, how do you know the names of all the corps from Afghanistan?

  4. Michael -- I have heard the US is going to take this approach with the 82nd Airborne and I applaud that.

    Actually, this isn't correct. 4/82 is going to Afghanistan as an Advise and Assist Brigade (AAB, as opposed to a Brigade Combat Team). The task organization and method of operation of an AAB is different than a normal BCT, but 4/82 will NOT be embedded as an entire brigade.

    AABs will eventually come to be known as Modular Brigades Augmented for Security Force Assistance. I'm not sure when this lexicographic transition takes place, though it would make sense to do so with 4/82 as they'll be operating slightly differently than the AABs that have gone to Iraq up to this point.

    I'm going to write a post on this later to expand on some of these details, so thanks for the idea.

  5. Michael C.: that sort of information is in the public domain and very easy to find out.

    For Afghan and Iraqi security forces' orders of battle, reliably updated down to brigade level, see the Long War Journal: and

    For U.S. and NATO orders of battle, I update them monthly to battalion level (again, all open-source info) at the Institute for the Study of War: and

  6. A new poll released by the ABC News-Washington Post states that 51 percent of the American people now believe that the war in Afghanistan is not worth the costs. If these poll findings are accurate than there might not be much difference between French and American public opinion when it comes to Afghanistan.

  7. The Iraqi OOB has now migrated:

    The Afghan OOB at the LWJ is in the process of being updated. The Afghan OOB reflects public source data from CSTC-A slides, CSTC-A briefings, CSTC-A Enduring Ledgers, ISAF blogger briefings, ISAF press briefings, ISAF press releases, 6 monthly DoD Section 1230 reports, 12 monthly DoD Section 1231 reports. Note that many of these data sources include quotes from ANSF officers. Sometimes press articles that quote ANSF, CSTC-A, OMLT, ETT, ISAF leaders are also used, although these need to be multiple sourced before being included in the OOB, if then. Most of the OOB is multiple public sourced.

    Tintin, could we touch base offline?

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