President Obama will announce his new strategy for Afghanistan during a primetime address to the nation from the West Point Military Academy Tuesday at 8 p.m., the White House announced Wednesday. Obama is expected to explain how a surge of troops—estimated between 20,000 and 40,000—is vital for national security interests, according to Politico; he will also likely note that failure would create a lawless country vulnerable to al Qaeda. The choice of setting—which provides a backdrop of future military officers—comes as the public is losing confidence in Obama’s policy. A USA Today/Gallup poll out Wednesday found that his approval rating on the war has plummeted: half of the people surveyed support deploying additional troops, while four in ten want to withdraw forces. And in a reversal of Obama's 56 percent approval rating on Afghanistan taken four months ago, 55 percent of people now disapprove of his handling of the war and 35 percent approve. Obama's not doing so well on other issues either: by a 2-to-1 margin, Americans think the U.S. shouldn't close Guantánamo, as Obama intends; by 49 percent to 44 percent, Americans oppose passing a health-care bill this year; and six in 10 say that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind, should be tried in military court, not in Manhattan. However, Obama's overall approval rating remains steady at 50 percent, where it's been since early October.
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