Did public opinion hold any sway in the decision to head into Afghanistan in 2001?

#1
Hi Arrsers, so this might seem an odd question so I'll lend some context. I've reached the point in my degree where it is dissertation time and I'm hoping to make mine connected to public affairs and foreign policy in some way. At the moment I'm looking into the influence public opinion has had on military operations, my topic is still not set in stone.

I'm specifically wondering at the moment how informed the public was about the deployment to Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11 and whether or not public opinion supported the war at the beginning. I know our deployment to Iraq was only conducted when a vague legal basis could be established (WMD threat) but was that a consideration when we headed into Afghanistan? Was there a big anti-war lobby as there was regarding Iraq?

I know my question is...quite vague but I just want an idea of the general feeling at the time really. I was living in New Zealand at the time so my attention to GB news must have slipped, that and I was barely seven years old.
 
#2
There was huge amounts of polling around at the time. The fact Article V and a UNSCR were implemented also suggests it was pretty "popular".
 

Glad_its_all_over

ADC
Book Reviewer
#3
As far as I recall, it was pretty uncontentious at the time. The US, with our support, went into Afghanistan to remove the AQ infrastructure after the Taliban government refused to show AQ the door. There was all sorts of nuance, to do with the Northern Alliance, the AQ assassination of its leader and a desire to kick the Taliban out of office while we were about it, but the essential task of removing AQ was pretty widely accepted as a mitzvah after 9/11.

Things got a bit complicated after that, of course....
 
#4
After the WTC attack, I think it was accepted that the US had to strike back and that we'd go along with it.

Students and young people weren't politicised like they are now, and there wasn't much of an anti-war lobby. That came later during the build up to GW2.
 
#5
From what I remember initially it was UKSF mission in support of the US and Northern Alliance.

There then began a really bad ourbreak of 'Mission Creep'.
 
#6
I see what you mean there. The mission at the start of the deployment in 2001 seems a world away from where it ended up.
 
#7
From what I remember initially it was UKSF mission in support of the US and Northern Alliance.

There then began a really bad ourbreak of 'Mission Creep'.
Mission creep didn't come into it. UN resultion 1386 set the scene with an understanding that the country had to be stabilised.
 
#8
I see what you mean there. The mission at the start of the deployment in 2001 seems a world away from where it ended up.
It went Pete Tong in 2006 when we decided to scale up. Had it been kept on a low heat like it was prior to 2006 then things would've bubbled along.

Sending units out on 6 months yours didn't help either. How many f**king times did we have to relearn the same lessons. It was like arguing with a brick wall. Eid el Fitre wasn't going to be suicide bomber central. Afghan women don't want wells sunk in the centre of the village and mosques don't operate long the same lines as a western Church.
 
#9
Yeah I've received that impression from the accounts I've read. Was there any fuss in the media and public domain when we scaled up Ops or did Iraq still dominate the headlines at that point? We came back to the UK in late 2004 but I remember little of Afghan news really getting much traction until we'd pulled out of Iraq.
 

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