With regard to America’s new war with ISIS, the American public is being told two things. One is that the war is going to last many years, with President Obama saying it would cover the administration of the next president and likely the one after that. He has also promised no US ground troops in combat.
Looking at that length of time, and how much the war has already escalated, a new NBC News/WSJ/Annenberg poll shows that Americans aren’t really buying the later promise, with 72% believing the US will ultimately use ground troops in combat operations.
Despite Obama’s pledges to the contrary, top Pentagon officials, including Joint Chiefs chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey and Army Chief Gen. Ray Odierno have both talked up ground troops as at least a possibility, and there seems to be a growing admission that the 1,600 ground troops already in Iraq are going to be in roles involving combat, even if they’re officially labeled “advisers.”
The American public sees the ground war looming, but they are pretty divided on the matter, with the poll showing a split roughly down the middle over whether they would support a ground war if the Pentagon insisted it was necessary, and a lot of people remaining undecided.
It’s a question that’s likely to come up sooner, rather than later, so to the extent the American public has a say on the open-ended war, they’d better start figuring out if they’re okay with the idea.