The majority of Republicans now think the war in Afghanistan was not worth fighting, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted last week.
For the first time, more Republicans and Republican-leaning independents opposed the war than supported it, with 55 percent saying they considered the costs of the war greater than its benefits. Sixty-six percent of all respondents said the war was not worth fighting.
The war could become an issue in the general election. GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney, unlike most of his primary rivals, has not questioned the nation's commitment to Afghanistan, and he has criticized President Obama for his timeline to give Afghans security responsibility by 2014.
"I think it is plain to see conditions are not going very well," Romney told Fox News. "And I lay part of the blame on that on the lack of leadership on our president."
The poll showed mixed support for Obama's handling of the war, with 48 percent approving of his actions and 43 percent disapproving. Respondents were split as to whether Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bale's killing of 17 Afghan civilians indicated broader problems or was an isolated incident. But they showed concern for the toll warfare can have on service members, with 80 percent saying the military should put time limits on deployments to combat areas.
Republican presidential hopeful U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) has offered the clearest stance of any GOP candidates on Afghanistan, criticizing both his fellow Republican candidates and President Obama while unwavering in his belief in withdrawal: It was a waste, there's not gonna be a happy ending, and I think the Republicans have dug a hole for themselves because they're trying to out-militarize the president, say 'we should do more.' Yet 75 percent of the American people say 'we've had enough.' (Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said in mid-March that he did not have enough information to "take a stand" on Afghanistan when questioned on the issue. On March 18, Romney told "Fox News Sunday": Before I take a stand, I want to get input [from military leaders] that are there. General [John] Allen is coming to Washington and testifying about what the conditions are. The former governor also called the ongoing U.S. departure from Afghanistan a "failed withdrawal," concluding that "we are not staying there forever." (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich recently told Fox News he thought American lives lost in Afghanistan may have been for naught, saying that the U.S. needs to reassess its role in the country: I think that we're risking the lives of young men and women in a mission that may frankly not be doable. I think it's very likely that we have lost, tragically lost, the lives and suffered injuries to a considerable number of young Americans on a mission that we're going to discover is not doable. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)
Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, has not offered a clear plan of how to tackle Afghanistan, but has questioned President Obama's approach, especially in the wake of the massacre of Afghan civilians allegedly committed by a U.S. soldier. In a recent interview, Santorum said: We have to either make a decision to make a full commitment, which this president has not done, or we have to decide to get out and probably get out sooner. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Despite the recent killings of 17 Afghans allegedly by a U.S. soldier, President Barack Obama has vowed to follow the plan laid out in 2011 for a withdrawal of 33,000 troops by the end of Summer 2012, with a transition to Afghan forces taking the lead in policing the country by 2014. After the Afghan massacre, President Obama emphasized a belief in staying the course: In terms of pace, I don't anticipate at this stage that we're going to be making any sudden additional changes to the plan that we currently have. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)