Majority Remains Opposed To U.S. Intervention In Syria
Mirroring results that we’ve seen in the past, a majority of Americans remain opposed to military intervention in Syria’s civil war:
(Reuters) – Americans strongly oppose U.S. intervention in Syria’s civil war and believe Washington should stay out of the conflict even if reports that Syria’s government used deadly chemicals to attack civilians are confirmed, a Reuters/Ipsos poll says.
About 60 percent of Americans surveyed said the United States should not intervene in Syria’s civil war, while just 9 percent thought President Barack Obama should act.
More Americans would back intervention if it is established that chemical weapons have been used, but even that support has dipped in recent days – just as Syria’s civil war has escalated and the images of hundreds of civilians allegedly killed by chemicals appeared on television screens and the Internet.
The Reuters/Ipsos poll, taken August 19-23, found that 25 percent of Americans would support U.S. intervention if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces used chemicals to attack civilians, while 46 percent would oppose it. That represented a decline in backing for U.S. action since August 13, when Reuters/Ipsos tracking polls found that 30.2 percent of Americans supported intervention in Syria if chemicals had been used, while 41.6 percent did not.
Taken together, the polls suggest that so far, the growing crisis in Syria, and the emotionally wrenching pictures from an alleged chemical attack in a Damascus suburb this week, may actually be hardening many Americans’ resolve not to get involved in another conflict in the Middle East.
The results – and Reuters/Ipsos polling on the use-of-chemicals question since early June – suggest that if Obama decides to undertake military action against Assad’s regime, he will do so in the face of steady opposition from an American public wary after more than a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
This isn’t an entirely a surprise since, as I noted, other polls in the past have shown public opposition to intervention in Syria, even when factors such as chemical weapons are taken into consideration. Now, obviously, opinion polls don’t necessarily drive U.S. foreign policy but one has to think that the White House is taking domestic opinion into account as it weighs whether or not to respond militarily to the latest alleged use of chemical weapons. That’s why it’s likely that whatever action we do take, if any action is taken at all, is likely to be minimal and rather ineffectual as far as the situation on the ground is concerned. Unfortunately, though, once we start crossing the line of intervening, it becomes increasingly likely that we’re going to get drawn further into the conflict.