A new CBS News poll shows 57 percent of Americans favor sending ground troops to combat the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. That includes at least 50 percent of Republicans, Democrats and independents and is up from 47 percent in October.
It's the latest evidence of a growing chorus calling for more force. A Fox News poll last week showed 60 percent of people thought ground troops would be necessary to defeat the Islamic State, rather than airstrikes alone. The more recent poll shows they not only think it's necessary but are also urging Congress and the Obama administration to do it.
This comes after Americans overwhelmingly favored withdrawing troops from one of the very same countries mentioned above. Now they want to send them back in.
Despite this, there is very little push in Congress or the Obama administration for a significant ground troop presence just yet. President Obama's request for authorization of force (which two-thirds of Americans support in the new poll) includes limited ground troops. They would be allowed for rescue missions and intelligence-gathering, but not as part of "enduring offensive ground operations." Republicans want more leeway in the use of ground troops, but they aren't calling for ground troops right this minute.
Which is where the lingering effects of Iraq and Afghanistan come in. Even as there is a growing desire for ground troop presence to fight the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL), actually sending them in is a very difficult political decision. Once you commit to putting Americans on the ground, you own the results -- as the Democrats who voted for the Iraq war and Republicans who lost the 2008 presidential election will attest.
Which is why, even as the American public is starting to build a consensus on fighting the Islamic State on the ground, Congress and the Obama administration will continue to be more cautious.
Indeed, it seems they are now more war-weary than the American people.