News / USA

Americans Express Skepticism About Syria Strikes

Americans Express Skepticism About Syria Strikesi
X
September 05, 2013 10:38 AM
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. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more.

Americans Express Skepticism About Syria Strikes

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.
 

Jeff Seldin

Jeff works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters covering a wide variety of subjects, from the nature of the growing terror threat in Northern Africa to China’s crackdown on Tibet and the struggle over immigration reform in the United States. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Frank from: Michigan
September 06, 2013 8:35 AM
Let's see if I have this right. We don't want foreign rulers doing in their subjects with chemicals, right? But we don't mind it too much if they bomb, shoot, or bayonet them in the streets. Genocide is fine, just don't use chemicals to carry it out. Do I got it right?


by: Ramnarayan from: Florida, USA
September 05, 2013 4:40 PM
Sadly these polls show how disconnect the US political leaders are from the public. In a democracy, the public opinion is supposed to mean something. In our system of govt. in contrast to our cousins across the Atlantic, our leaders dont have to bow to the public opinion. They continue to live in their own world and choose to ignore the majority wishes. The behavior we see with our politicians is what we expect from Iran, N. Korea and many other middle east kingdoms. If only our leaders have the courage to admit that they are bowing to the public despite their intentions, what a message we, the most powerful nation can send to the world. But, we need a different kind of politicians who thinks about the consequences of their actions long after they are gone rather than their legacy.


by: marc from: Pittsburgh PA
September 05, 2013 8:42 AM
Don't Americans have enough issues here at home? crime rates are higher than ever. Mad teenagers go shoot down entire classroom full of children. None in the senate could do anything about these.

Say we decide to attack Syria. How many more people are we going to kill to teach a lesson? how accurate will American Targets be? Will those kill only Bad guys? And above all, who is paying for those deadly fireworks?


by: Markt
September 05, 2013 8:41 AM
It is out of the hands of the American People, poll us all you want, it will not make a difference. The matter is now in the hands of 535 people who we hired to represent us, it is their decision. Our only hope is that those we elected to serve us in Congress will make the decisions we hope they will make, but, like every politician who ever sat in Congress, they have their own agendas and their own programs to think about first. Sadly, the welfare of those who hired them in the first place, takes second fiddle once they raise their hands and repeat after the judge who swore them into Office.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid