Poll: Majority of Troops Oppose 'Troops on the Ground' in ISIS War


White House

You know who really doesn't want troops on the ground in America's new war? Troops.

The Military Times yesterday released a poll of about 2,200 active-duty troops, just over 70 percent of whom don't want the Obama administration to put American soldiers in Iraq to fight the Islamic State (a.k.a. ISIS). Syria wasn't included, since the survey was conducted before military action began there.

The Times suggests:

Opponents of an expanded mission fall into two camps. Some troops think the U.S. should simply stay out of the conflagration engulfing the Middle East. But others take a more nuanced view.

One Air Force lieutenant colonel said he supports taking the fight to the Islamic State militants, even if that involves a large number of U.S. combat troops. But he worries that the country's leadership will not completely see the mission through.

"If we do it halfheartedly, we shouldn't do it at all," he said, adding that America should expand its military mission in Iraq "only if we're committed to complete victory."

"I'm not hearing that now," he said. "There's political fear of blowback for making such a declaration. War, as ugly as it is, should be done in a very overwhelming and clear fashion."

Wariness and weariness about war in the sandbox doesn't seem to be partisan. The survey also highlights the fact that "over the past four years of the annual poll, the percentage of active-duty troops who believe the first U.S. war in Iraq was a success has declined significantly." The number of those who believe it was successful have more than halved to 25.5 percent. Meanwhile, soldiers who say it "wasn't successful at all" have more than doubled to 31.2 percent. Another 28 percent say it "wasn't very successful."

The Military Times

Although President Barack Obama has assured he "will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil," he's also pumped up his war rhetoric to Bush levels, saying that there's no room to "negotiate with this brand of evil." That leaves few options on how to deal with them.

Retired Gen. David Petraeus stated last week that troops would be necessary. He said they could be Iraqi troops, but acknowledged it would take "months and years" for them to "deal with" ISIS. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey has hinted that American troops might be the only thing that'll do the trick. One veteran of the last Iraq war writes in Politico that "boots on the ground" rhetoric is deliberately fuzzy, but for all intents and purposes they're already there.

It's little wonder why, in spite of Obama's promises, the majority of America's civilian population suspect this will become a ground war. 


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  1. Breaking news: people would rather get paid and not work!

    1. Are you really so stupid that you think military members don’t work if they’re not fighting a war?

  2. How many troops in the survey were millennials?

    1. How many realize that promotions come faster for those who led combat troops?

      1. Wow, that is a perverse incentive.
        “Come on war (fingers crossed) I need a higher pay grade!”

        1. I’m not surprised that the military rewards people for doing what the military exists to do?

          1. It makes sense, I was mostly joking.

      2. Being deployed (to a combat zone especially) is considered a plus when going for a promotion. Plus you get a bunch of ribbons.

  3. I’d trade my Lieutenant Colonelcy, the pay and medals/ribbons for the two and half years away from my family, friends and civilian job while getting shot at, living in a hut or a tent and such.

    But, that is what you get when you are part of a volunteer force, and I have not seen any redemption center to trade back those things.

    1. Swiss, are you saying you would trade to get those years back with your family? Or that you would be happy to get another 2.5 years away from your family so you can lead the manly life?

      I think I know the answer, but it is an ambiguous offer.

  4. “If we do it halfheartedly, we shouldn’t do it at all,” he said, adding that America should expand its military mission in Iraq “only if we’re committed to complete victory.”

    ^This. And doing it wholeheartedly means we are going to end up with a mountain of dead women and children.

    Congress should vote on hostilities like this because they should be on record for supporting said mountain of dead civilians. Or if they don’t support killing all those civilians, maybe they could vote No.

  5. no room to “negotiate with this brand of evil.”

    Which brand of evil is that, you may wonder?

    Well, it’s none other than Axis of Evil brand evil. The only evil to have when you’re sending your young people out kill other young people.

    1. I’d agree that we shouldn’t negotiate with ISIS. Doesn’t mean we need to go in there guns a blazin. All we need to do is sit back and let them and the other factions kill each other. If they succeed and create a dominant Islamic State, then we can go in an destroy them if they are still a threat to us. We are good ad fighting and destroying nation states. Not so much at fluid extremist organizations.

  6. “Retired Gen. David Petraeus stated last week that troops would be necessary. He said they could be Iraqi troops, but acknowledged it would take “months and years” for them to “deal with” ISIS”

    The story here that everyone is ‘talking around’ is that its not really about ‘ISIS’, per se.

    Its about the continuation of Iraq as a contiguous, pluralist state.

    Iraq ‘broke’ when we went in; we held the parts together while we were there. Absent US Power, the fault lines are expanding. Shiite, sunni and kurd are all consolidating and reorganizing themselves in an ‘everyman for himself’ fashion.

    ISIS became the ‘Special Forces of the sunni insurgency’ back in 2006 – they’re reprising that role in larger form with the support of a far wider coalition. If iraqi sunnis are not ‘the face’ of this army its for good reason: so that they can be seen as the ‘moderate’ camp. while ISIS holds ground in Northern Iraq, Sunnis gain ground in baghdad.

    The “iraqi Army” is fragmented between tribes / sectarian allegiances, and will not fight ISIS as a whole. No one trusts who’s in charge. If shiite militias try and fight by themselves, it will make things worse. It simply expand the fracture. It will also send more support to ISIS from regional Sunni backers.

    The US is taking the position of pretending to ‘glue together’ a bi-partisan iraq. That is the real mission here. This is why no ‘troops’ want to be involved. Who wants to back an army that won’t fight for its own country?

  7. I’m sure, if polled, most of the Armed Forces would like to just sit around Germany sucking down beers and buying BMWs, or trolling Korea and Japan for wives. Unfortunately, it ain’t all fun & games.

    1. And you’d rather them be at war, I suppose?

    2. It was 70% against, 30% for. In my experience as a Marine Officer, the 30% is likely mostly made up of guys who haven’t deployed yet. The ones who have deployed tend not to be too excited about the next deployment.

      1. but they probly were their first time around though

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