I think it's going to happen, but after the elections. Here's why:
More Americans now say that they believe U.S. military action against ISIS should include American combat troops on the ground, according to a new NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll.Ground troops won't be sent as long as the president thinks doing so will alienate Democratic voters -- although I have to wonder how much of a factor it would be for most Dems, especially in the red and purple states where the key Senate races are. Most Democratic voters aren't committed progressives who are politically engaged at all times. The group of people who fall into that category is a small sliver of the Democratic base. I think a lot of Democratic voters will find themselves drifting into acceptance of a ground war with ISIS in the near future. Meanwhile, the pressure will build from the rest of the public. Today's big New York Times story about U.S. soldiers finding decayed pre-1991 chemical weapons in Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam is even part of the process of getting the public ready for a wider ISIS war:
Forty-one percent of respondents believe both troops on the ground and airstrikes are necessary for the mission against ISIS, versus 35 percent who think it should be restricted to airstrikes; another 15 percent say no military action should be taken.
That’s a reversal from the NBC/WSJ poll in September, when 40 percent wanted just airstrikes and 34 wanted both airstrikes and combat troops.
The seven-point increase in those also wanting U.S. ground troops has been fueled mostly by groups that make up the GOP base. More self-described Republicans (up 14 points), men over 50 years old (up 18), white men (up 17) and seniors (up 10) now advocate for troops on the ground in the fight against the terror group. There's been virtually no change since September among Democrats, young people, and white women....
Since the outset of the war, the scale of the United States' encounters with chemical weapons in Iraq was neither publicly shared nor widely circulated within the military. These encounters carry worrisome implications now that the Islamic State, a Qaeda splinter group, controls much of the territory where the weapons were found.George W. Bush left office six years ago. If we thought mass wariness about war was a permanent condition in America, we were crazy. This will be an issue in our politics until there's a sense that ISIS isn't a threat to Americans. War is winning the battle for America's hearts and minds -- as it usually does.