US supports military action against ISIS: Polls

  • Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times, Washington
  • Updated: Sep 10, 2014 17:20 IST

As a buzz builds around President Barack Obama’s coming speech on a broader strategy to confront ISIS, polls show he won’t have much trouble convincing fellow Americans.

Almost two-thirds of respondents in a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll said it was in America’s interest to go after the terrorist outfit that recently executed two American journalists.

A Washington Post/ABC poll found 71% support for airstrikes in Iraq, which are currently on, and 65% for strikes in Syria, which the president hasn’t ordered yet, but may.

Even congressional leadership, whom the president had over the White House for consultation on Tuesday, promised him their full support, and urged him to go the full distance.

Speaker John Boehner told Obama the US and allies must put in place a “strategy that rises to the challenge of the threat we face, and takes the fight directly to ISIL in a decisive fashion”.

President Obama’s speech, which he announced in an interview past Sunday, will come during prime time television at 9 pm on Wednesday, on the eve of the 13th anniversary of 9/11.

That will be 6:30 am, Thursday in India.

There are indications the president is leaning towards expanding military action to attack ISIS not only in Iraq, where airstrikes have been on since August 8, but also in Syria.

Senior officials of his administration have for while maintained that ISIS cannot be crushed without dealing with it in Syria, where its fighters and leaders go to escape pressure in Iraq.

If the president does finally take that course, he won’t have trouble selling it to the country. The WSJ/NBC poll showed 40% American were supportive of airstrikes.

And an additional 34% were fine with a combination of airstrikes and ground troops, that’s a long way for a war weary nation to have travelled in only a year.

Around a year ago, there was negligible support for airstrikes that Obama was considering against Syria for crossing a redline he had drawn for the Assad regime on chemical weapon use.

That was a distant conflict. The country was prepared to get involved. And neither was their president, who had run for the White House on the promise of ending conflicts.

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