Much of the world is watching and waiting to see whether the United States will respond to the chemical weapons attack that killed more than 1,400 Syrians, including hundreds of children. President Barack Obama and some leading lawmakers are calling for a military strike. But despite the horror, many Americans seem unconvinced that U.S. airstrikes will do much good.
In Washington, the political wheels have been turning. President Obama has been meeting with lawmakers and sending key Cabinet members to Congress to make the case for a military response.
But across much of America, where summer vacations have ended and kids are heading back to school, many people are weary.
"We've been in perpetual wars. It's just one ends, another starts," one man said.
"Strategic military attacks were going to happen in Iraq, and we’re still there 10 years later, and it bankrupted the country," noted another man. "So, why go through that again?"
That reluctance to get involved in Syria is clear in the latest polls.
A Washington Post / ABC News poll finds 59 percent of Americans oppose U.S. missile strikes on Syria compared to 36 percent in favor.
Another poll, by the Pew Research Center, finds 48 percent of Americans opposing strikes with only 29 percent in favor.
But what if the U.S. doesn't go it alone and has help from other countries, like Britain or France?
In that case, support for action rises to 46 percent, though more than half of Americans still say "no."
And despite the case being made by the president, for lots of people there are still too many ”what ifs”?
“Americans need to be sure of outcomes if we are going to become engaged in any kind of war,” explained independent pollster John Zogby.
For some in the U.S., taking action is a moral imperative.
"I don't think it’s right that we let this madman kill and pillage his country like he's doing," one man told VOA.
Others say it's not that they don't care, but they don't think military strikes will help.
"I’m concerned about it as a response, I doubt it would deter any future attacks," a woman said.
"You know, are we trading one monster for a worse monster?" asked another bystander.
Many Americans are urging their lawmakers to focus on other problems -- like the economy and health care -- which they feel might have a shot - however slim - of getting fixed.