News / USA

ISIS Beheadings Could Spur US Public Support for Military Response

An image grab taken from a video released by the Islamic State (IS) and identified by private terrorism monitor SITE Intelligence Group purportedly shows U.S. freelance writer Steven Sotloff dressed in orange and on his knees in a desert landscape speaking to the camera before being beheaded by a masked militant (R), Sept. 2, 2014.
An image grab taken from a video released by the Islamic State (IS) and identified by private terrorism monitor SITE Intelligence Group purportedly shows U.S. freelance writer Steven Sotloff dressed in orange and on his knees in a desert landscape speaking to the camera before being beheaded by a masked militant (R), Sept. 2, 2014.

As the Obama administration weighed in heavily on Wednesday with stern warnings to Islamic State militants, some U.S. lawmakers are demanding extensive air attacks while others are taking a more measured response.

The rhetoric could help spur U.S. public support for a military response, analysts say.

U.S. President Barack Obama talks during a press conference at the Bank of Estonia in Tallinn, Estonia, Sep. 3, 2014.U.S. President Barack Obama talks during a press conference at the Bank of Estonia in Tallinn, Estonia, Sep. 3, 2014.
x
U.S. President Barack Obama talks during a press conference at the Bank of Estonia in Tallinn, Estonia, Sep. 3, 2014.
U.S. President Barack Obama talks during a press conference at the Bank of Estonia in Tallinn, Estonia, Sep. 3, 2014.

President Barack Obama told reporters in Estonia that the U.S. intends to build a coalition to “degrade and destroy” Islamic State militants. Obama spoke after U.S. officials confirmed the veracity of a video that showed the beheading of an American journalist held captive by Islamic State militants.

Speaking in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Vice President Joe Biden said of IS: “We will follow them to the gates of hell until they are brought to justice because hell is where they will reside.”

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, a likely contender for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in 2016, spoke too in tough language to a conservative conference in Dallas a few days ago.

‘“ISIS says they want to go back and reject modernity,” he said. “Well, I think we should help them. We ought to bomb them back to the Stone Age!”

Other lawmakers are urging a more cautious approach and appear willing to give the Obama administration more time to formulate a comprehensive strategy for dealing with ISIS.  

"It takes time to build a coalition.  We can’t simply bomb first and ask questions later," said Congressman Adam Smith, a Democrat from Washington State who appeared on CBS’ Face the Nation. "We have to have the right targets and the right support in order to be effective in stopping ISIS.”

Sotloff’s death and the previous beheading of American journalist James Foley have angered many Americans and that in turn could spur public opinion in support of military strikes against the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS.

Sotloff was a native of Florida and state Governor Rick Scott took the unusual step of interrupting a campaign event to announce the reporter's death and condemn those responsible.

“The people who did this are evil. They are not merely wrong. They are not adversaries," he said. "They are evil.”

But so far there has been little domestic public polling on the threat posed by ISIS and what the U.S. should do about it.

A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll taken before the Sotloff murder found Americans split on the question of whether to intervene in Iraq. Twenty-nine percent said the U.S. should not intervene. Twenty-one percent said the U.S. should launch airstrikes to support the Iraqi government, while 22 percent said they didn’t know what the response should be.

Karlyn Bowman, who monitors U.S. public opinion at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, said many Americans are likely to see Islamic State as a threat worthy of some form of military response.  

“Over the course of the summer clearly we saw reluctance to get very involved in the situation in the Middle East,” she said. “We’ve certainly seen a lot of polls. But this represents such a clear danger and with members of Congress and the president talking about how clear the danger is I think public opinion will follow.”

Bowman also said the gruesome nature of the beheading videos of the two American journalists leads to outrage among the public and a greater determination to support actions that target the terrorists.

“The nature of the images, just the discussions and being able to hear these people’s voices, it has a very, very powerful effect on public opinion,” she said.

But public support is not likely to extend to the use of U.S. ground troops, said Ohio State expert John Mueller. Mueller has written extensively about the reluctance of the American public to commit ground forces in the wake of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.  

“Efforts that are pinprick-like and supportive and do not cost American lives might find a certain amount of tolerance but not anything bigger than that,” he said. “The American public seems to be overwhelmingly fed up with getting into these foreign wars and there is intense wariness about getting involved with ground troops.”

The public will have plenty of opportunities to express itself in the weeks ahead.

Congress returns to Washington next week and the U.S. response to the threat posed by Islamic State is likely to be a central focus of debate. Some lawmakers are already urging the president to seek congressional approval before launching a wider military campaign against the extremist group.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

Comment Sorting
Comment on this forum (2)
Comments
     
by: bob van riezen from: grimsby ontario
September 03, 2014 5:53 PM
It is interesting that there is a reluctance to support military involvement, however this group hiding behind religious names is evil through and through. Hitlers goons were attracted to the idea that they could beat and eventually murder with impunity. This group is attracted to torture and terrorize and have nothing to with Muslim or Islamic thinking. People who need to hide their face or talk about war without uniforms and killing indiscriminately are subhuman and need to be removed.


by: Angel Nazario from: 23 Hitchcock rd Worc, MA
September 03, 2014 5:06 PM
Should have been done right the first time, send the troops in & let them finish it!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid