News / USA

Obama Faces Strong Anti-War Mood in Congress

Obama Faces Anti-War Mood in Congressi
X
September 13, 2013
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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid