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

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More