You know what we always learn when Americans are asked what should be done about the federal budget: they want budgets to be balanced, they hate hate hate deficits, but give them a list of programs to cut and they're unswervingly opposed to cutting anything (entitlements, defense) that's actually a significant part of the budget. At most, they're in favor of taxing the rich more (which would help reduce deficits and debt, but wouldn't be enough on its own), and they want to cut foreign aid (which is a tiny sliver of the budget). In fact, they usually want to increase spending programs.
I'm starting to think that's where we are with regard to ISIS-- we have a public that wants the impossible. From a New York Times roundup of opinions from ordinry citizens:
Yet even as Mrs. Anderly wanted to "bomb the hell" out of the militants, she was uncomfortable with a protracted campaign.Also:
"We've been doing this for 11 years. Another three years? We’re not supposed to be a war nation; we're not Rome."
"We really don't want to get bogged down in another war," said Mr. Marsette, who faults Mr. Obama for "just sitting back" while ISIS grew. "Before it grows too big," he said, "there has to be some kind of action."Well, sir, we are where we are. What are we going to do now? Bitch about what we think should have been. And now we should kick ass -- but not in a long-term, burdensome way.
But if the president's response to these conflicting, contradictory demands is a containment plan rather than an all-out war plan, and someone in the adminstration acknowledges that what we're planning falls short of full-scale war, then Fox is going to flip out in response to that, and Americans are going to grumble some more.
It's too bad the wars in Grenada and Panama were so quick, as was Gulf War I. Twenty and thirty years later, we're still spoiled. Even after the past thirteen years, we're still longing for a rapid little war. So the president and his team shouldn't do stupid stuff, but they may have to say some stupid stuff, just to mollify the public.