Only 9% of Americans Favor Syria Intervention as Obama Considers Military Options

Wednesday, August 28, 2013
U.S. Navy destroyers (photo: Anthony Falvo, U.S. Navy)

If President Barack Obama decides to take military action against Syria in the wake of the recent chemical weapons attack, he will do so without the support of the American people.


A new Reuters/Ipsos poll revealed that only 9% of respondents back any U.S. military intervention in the Syrian conflict.


The survey was taken August 19-23, which was the same week that media accounts indicated the regime of Bashar al-Assad had used chemical weapons against its own people, possibly killing hundreds or even thousands of civilians.


“If there were ever a time that Americans would support some sort of action, you’d think this would be it,” Max Fisher wrote at The Washington Post. “But this is the lowest support for intervention since the poll began tracking opinion on the issue.”


About 60% of those surveyed said they oppose all military intervention in Syria.


Another 25% said that they would support intervention if Assad used chemical weapons. The Obama administration said in June that Syria had already done this, so “a large share of people who answered that the United States should intervene if Assad uses chemical weapons are apparently unaware that this line has already been crossed,” Fisher wrote.


Regardless of how many Americans want their country involved in the Syrian civil war, Obama is reportedly weighing his military options.


One plan involves firing cruise missiles from one of four Navy destroyers deployed in the Mediterranean Sea to attack Syrian military targets.


Another option would call for U.S. military jets firing weapons from outside Syrian airspace.  CNN reported that this second option is considered to have a higher level of risk and, thus, maybe less likely to occur.


Obama’s national security team is studying the U.S.’s 1999 air war in Kosovo as a potential model for action to take in Syria, according to a report in The New York Times.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

New Poll: Syria Intervention Even Less Popular than Congress (By Max Fisher, Washington Post)

Missile Strikes on Syria Likely Response to Chemical Attack (By Chris Lawrence. Elise Labott and Tom Cohen, CNN)

Obama’s Guns of August (by Fred Kaplan, Slate)

President Assad May Have Used Chemical Weapon against Syrian People, Says Secret U.S. State Department Cable; White House Demurs (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

U.S. Has Secret Pact to Aid Syrian Rebels (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Is the Fighting in Syria a Behind-the-Scenes Return to Cold War? (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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