News / USA

Obama Faces Strong Anti-War Mood in Congress

Obama Faces Anti-War Mood in Congressi
X
September 13, 2013 9:21 PM
Now that the action on Syria has shifted away from the U.S. Congress and onto the diplomatic stage, many lawmakers are hoping they will not have to vote on a resolution to authorize military action. Recent opinion polls show more than 60 percent of Americans oppose U.S. military strikes on Syria, and a surprising number have called their congressman's office and taken to the streets to make their views known. VOA’s Cindy Saine takes a look at the anti-war mood on Capitol Hill.
Cindy Saine
— Debate on Syria has shifted away from the U.S. Congress and to the international diplomatic stage, and many lawmakers are hoping they will not have to vote on an unpopular resolution sought by President Barack Obama to authorize military force because of Syria's alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians.

Recent opinion polls show that more than 60 percent of Americans oppose U.S. military strikes on Syria, and a surprising number are making their anti-war sentiment known to their elected officials, holding rallies across the country and flooding congressional offices with phone calls.

On Capitol Hill, the peace group CODEPINK lobbied members of Congress and staffers.  Co-founder Medea Benjamin said the level of support is a real change from what she experienced before the Iraq War.  

"We get an overwhelmingly positive response from everybody, from the cars that go by, from the tourists who are walking by, from the joggers, from the policemen who are here, and the congressional staffers," she said.
 
This time around, the rallies have been much smaller and less combative than the protests against the Vietnam War, but liberal Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson said the public outcry has been decisive. 

“This is the biggest victory for the peace movement in United States since the end of the Vietnam War," he said.  Grayson said nearly 100,000 people have organized through his website 'Don’t attack Syria.'"

Bipartisan opposition to strikes

Conservative Republican Congressman Trey Radel is on the other side of the political spectrum, but on the same side on Syria.

“It is not that we are anti-war, or even war-weary.  What we are demanding from our leaders in the country today is to show us.  Show us the direct threat, or even indirect threat, and then show us a plan,” he said.  

Radel said his party is not turning inwards after the recent wars.

“Me personally, I am not an isolationist, and I sure as heck am not a, quote unquote, dove. I am none of these things,” he said.
 
Professor Allan Lichtman of American University said he does not believe the Syria debate reflects a real anti-war shift among Republicans.

“I think it is a continuation of what we have seen for many years now:  Republicans don’t want to give Obama anything.  They want to paste any defeat upon him that they possibly can," he said.

Political analyst Ronald Brownstein of the National Journal disagrees.  He said he believes the Syria debate reflects a real shift in attitude among the American public and among their elected representatives in both parties.

"We are seeing the results of a decade of growing disillusionment about our ability to achieve our ends through military force in other nations, particularly in the Middle East," he said.

Surprise to President Obama?

Brownstein said the wall of resistance must have surprised the president. 

"You have to think that part of the reason President Obama went to Congress was because Congress had never said 'no' to a president in a request like this in modern times," he said. 

Brownstein said the thought that Congress could say "no" was probably not as prominent in the president's thinking as it might have been.

He said he hopes the war fatigue will not prevent the United States from taking action when it should.

"I mean, you could imagine this sort of cycle taking us into staying on the sidelines when something else really bad happens around the world, like a Rwanda, and then the tide beginning to go back in the other direction," he said.

For now, the president has decided to give international diplomacy a chance to find a solution to Syria's chemical weapons.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
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.

AppleAndroid