The war in Afghanistan is increasingly unpopular with the US public, but upcoming elections may hand new power to lawmakers who are pressing for a robust, long-term military commitment.
Despite intense debate in Washington over Afghanistan, the nine-year-old war has barely figured in the campaign for the November 2 congressional elections as voters and candidates alike zero in on the wobbly US economy.
Many pollsters predict gains by the Republican Party, which has attacked Democratic President Barack Obama on a range of issues but has largely agreed with his deployment of more troops to Afghanistan.
"For the war to be an issue that matters, people have got to disagree about it," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
Representative Dennis Kucinich, a Democrat from Ohio and staunch critic of the war, faulted his own party for not pressing to change course.