In the U.S. House of Representatives, the vote was 273-156 in support of arming and training Syrian rebels in the fight against ISIS (after all, we do have a pretty good track record training rebels). Only 1/3 voted no - 71 Republicans and 85 Democrats (now there's bipartisanship!). The U.S. Senate also voted in support of intervention. 44 Democrats and 33 Republicans voted yes; while only 22 voted no.
Public support remains high for intervention, with 71% advocating for the use of airstrikes in Iraq and 65% for launching airstrikes in Syria (about a year ago, 45% of Americans favored military intervention in Syria).
And people may soon be demanding more intervention. In a recent poll, about 55% of Americans believe that the United States either intervenes too little in the world or just the right amount. Only 39% believe it does too much (about a year ago, 51% of Americans believed the U.S. does too much).
It's pretty scary. All it takes is the beheading of two American journalists to increase public support by almost 26% (In June, 45% supported airstrikes in Iraq; this jumped to 54% three weeks ago and is currently at 71%).
It's hard to believe we are living in the "libertarian moment." On the "intervention spectrum," foreign military intervention is quite possibly the worst kind of intervention (as war is mass murder). Yet, the public supports military intervention in both Iraq and Syria. Are people really advocating the libertarian philosophy?
Maybe I am too cynical, after all, "only" 48% of Americans currently support assisting Syrian rebels; while 40% oppose arming them. In other words, 60% of American support arming Syrian rebels. Have we not learned anything from history? We don't even have to go that far back - just last year we provided arms to Syrian rebels; shortly thereafter, we even trained rebels who would later join ISIS. Yet, we want to intervene even more?
And, what happens when we intervene? When we intervened in Pakistan a few years ago, we killed about 50 civilians for every militant killed - a success rate of 2%. Would we accept such failure from the private market? Let's say you buy $100 worth of groceries, but when you leave the store only $2 worth of it remains in your shopping cart (and it's SPAM btw). You would be okay with this? Of course not, you would walk back in the store and demand the other $98 worth of food! And we are just dealing with food, not a human life! We call ourselves "civilized," yet we would likely get more angry about getting screwed at Publix then we would hearing that a recent U.S. air strike killed two ISIS leaders and 100 Syrians.
It's depressing how little we learn from history (especially when it is so recent). It's also terrifying how easy it is for Americans to support the mass murder of innocent people overseas. And, just wait until a few terrorist plots are unfolded here in the U.S. - support for intervention will increase even more! Indeed, it's already beginning to happen (a man in New York was recently indicted for supporting ISIS and planning to kill Americans in the U.S.).
The propaganda and fear tactics will work as they always do. And, like always, we will forget our role in creating this mess to begin with. Instead, we will demand even more intervention - maybe this time, a strong charismatic Republican leader. He will demand even more military intervention overseas. Public support will reach through the roof. And, as always, U.S. airstrikes will kill innocent civilian; a few militants will die, but hundreds more will join in its ranks. The leader of ISIS may die, but another Al-Baghdadi will take charge. ISIS may dissolve, but a new group will take its place.
In all of this mess, thousands of human beings will die. But, there is a bright side: American corporations will profit (during the Iraq war, contractors made over $138 billion) . And that money will be spent in the U.S., which will create jobs. Our economy will grow again! The lives lost are just collateral damage - a means to an end. It's all for the greater good, right?