In time, depressing realities crowded into the Oval Office, perhaps none more depressing than the fact, now officially embroidered into NATO strategy, that the United States would be “on the offense,” engaged in combat operations in Afghanistan, through at least 2014. And the United States would be “on the offense” when the American people, according to a Pew poll, were rapidly losing confidence in the war. Released on December 7, 2010, the poll showed that only 44 percent of the American people thought U.S. troops ought to remain in Afghanistan until some sort of stability was established. Six months earlier, the number had been 53 percent, a nine-point drop. And whereas 59 percent of the American people had thought the United States would “probably” or “definitely” succeed in Afghanistan, now the number was 49 percent, a steep ten-point drop. The Afghan people were equally restless with the war, according to a poll conducted by the Washington Post and several other news organizations. In 2009, 61 percent had said they favored the American troop surge. A year later, the number was 49 percent, and falling. Finally, more than 70 percent said they favored a peace settlement with the Taliban.