With record numbers of US troops being killed in Afghanistan, with Pentagon expenditures for the war skyrocketing and with little or no evidence that the US occupation is making the country more stable, safe, free or humane, a majority of Americans now say the war is not worth fighting.

Fifty-one percent of those surveyed for a a new Washington Post-ABC News poll now say the human and economic cost of the war is too great.

Forty-four percent say it is worth its costs.

Perhaps most significantly, passionate opposition to the war now significantly outstrips passionate support for it.

Forty-one percent of those surveyed said they were strongly opposed to the occupation.

Just 31 percent say they were strongly supportive.

Barack Obama authorized surging 17,000 additional troops into Afghanistan at the start of his presidency, making a commitment to extend an occupation begun by George Bush and Dick Cheney as a supposed effort to track down those responsible for the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Now, as Afghanistan prepares for presidential elections Thursday, the fighting in many parts of the country is more intense than ever.

There is widespread speculation that General Stanley A. McChrystal, the top US commander in Afghanistan, will request more troops in short order.

That escalation is not going to play well with the American people.

A striking 45 percent said they were opposed to dispatching more US troops to Afghanistan.

Only 24 percent of those surveyed expressed sympathy for McChrystal’s scheme.

What these numbers add up to is an even stronger argument for Congress to check and balance the escalation of a war that should not be extended.

So far, 95 members, including a number of Republicans, have signed on as co-sponsors of Massachusetts Congressman Jim McGovern’s call for the development of an Afghanistan exit strategy.

The August congressional recess provides an opening for antiwar activists to increase those numbers. Progressive Democrats of America is working the issue hard, pushing an “End Wars and Occupations: Redirect Funding” message that is spot on.

“August Recess is the time to act! Congress needs to know that their constituents feel strongly about halting the war in Afghanistan, withdrawing of US troops from Iraq, and reducing the overall size of the military budget,” says PDA executive director Tim Carptenter. “They need to see concerned constituents taking action: Request a meeting with your senators and representative or their staffs, or simply stop by their offices and tell them to vote against further funding and to support the McGovern bill.”

The question to ask of reluctant members of Congress is easy enough: Isn’t it time to side with the majority of Americans in recognizing that this war is not worth fighting?