With the Obama administration evidently inclined, still and all, toward escalation in Afghanistan, we hope someone sends them a new study of public opinion in seven Muslim nations and the Palestinian territories showing a widespread backlash to U.S. efforts to fight terrorism with an expanded military presence. The report by the University of Maryland's Programme on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) finds large majorities in Islamic countries rejecting terrorism but supporting key goals of Al Qaeda – most notably, expelling American forces out of those countries.
Steven Kull, director of PIPA's WorldPublicOpinion.org., says the backlash represents "a conundrum" for American policy makers that needs to be addressed. Because polling took place before Obama's election, he adds, there is a possibility "things could change." For now, the Islamic world is "still watching." We are, too.