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Obama Has Public Support for Bombing Syria, for Now

Two U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft fly over northern Iraq Sept. 23, 2014, after conducting airstrikes in Syria. #AFY

So far President Obama has successfully sold his latest military action in Syria and Iraq but its public support is built on a foundation of sand.

According to a new CNN/ORC poll, 73 percent favor  “military air strikes conducted by the United States and its Western European and Arab allies against the ISIS forces in Iraq and Syria,” while only 24 percent oppose this action.

It also found that the public has even bought Obama’s nonsensical word play to pretend this is not a war. It found 40 percent say the United States is at war with ISIS, while 59 percent says we are involved in a military conflict with ISIS that is not a war.

Support, though, quickly disappears for anything beyond taking part in bombing as part of a broad multinational coalition. The poll found 54 percent oppose providing weapons and military training to Syrian rebels, which is the core component of Obama’s strategy in this war. In addition, 60 percent oppose sending American ground troops to fight in Iraq or Syria. Even support for airstrikes drops to just 50 percent if they are done alone without allies.

As military leaders and politicians talk more about the possibility of ground troops and the administration narrowly redefine what qualifies as “boots on the ground” the public could begin quickly turning against the administration’s actions. Already the vast majority of Americans don’t believe Obama will be able to keep his promise to limit our involvement in Syria.

DoD photo by Senior Airman Matthew Bruch, U.S. Air Force, public domain

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at