Despite the intensifying conflict with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and the United States’ invasion of both Syria and Iraq via airstrike, a recent survey done by Military Times found that the majority of active-duty troops in the United States are opposed to sending ground troops in to combat Islamic State militants.
The survey asked the troops, “In your opinion, do you think the U.S. military should send a substantial number of combat troops to Iraq to support the Iraqi security forces?” Approximately 70 percent of the more than 2,200 surveyed gave the answer “No.”
Although President Obama has insisted that he will not call for ground troops to battle against ISIS, his decision to expand airstrikes from Iraq, into Syria, has left many questioning what his next move will be.
On Sunday, U.S. House Speaker John Boehner criticized Obama’s decision to only use airstrikes, saying that, “At some point somebody’s boots have to be on the ground.”
When asked whether he thinks those “boots on ground” should be American, Boehner told ABC’s This Week, “We have no choice. These are barbarians. They intend to kill us. And if we don’t destroy them first, we’re gonna pay the price.”
However, the majority of the active-duty troops whose boots could actually be the ones “on the ground,” don’t share Boehner’s views.
One Army Infantry Officer, who deployed to Iraq three times, and who asked to remain anonymous, told the Military Times that he didn’t believe deploying ground troops would solve the current problem.
“It’s their country, it’s their business,” said the Officer. “I don’t think major ‘boots on the ground’ is the right answer.”
Others doubt that going back into Iraq will make much more of a difference than before.
Marine 2nd Lt. Christopher Fox said, “It’s kind of futile in the end – regardless of how well we do our job, the Iraqi government isn’t going to be able to hold up.”
According to the Military Times, this summer’s “near-collapse of the Iraqi army” fueled a “new level of pessimism” about the Iraq War, which led to only 30 percent of active-duty troops being surveyed to conclude that it was either “very successful” or “somewhat successful.”
Many soldiers are questioning why President Obama chose to remove all U.S. troops from Iraq in the first place, saying that their mission there was not complete in 2011.
Army Capt. Eric Hatch said that while he thought they were close to being done in 2011, they could have easily stayed another year of two.
“If you’re going to commit troops to do a mission, you should stay until the mission is complete,” said Hatch.