A man sits in front of houses destroyed during a Syrian Air Force air strike in Azaz, Syria on August 15, 2012. (REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic)
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, backs President Obama’s request for authorization to intervene militarily in Syria, as does House Democratic Minority Nancy Pelosi, D-California.
The president has done a pretty good job of selling his plan to congressional leaders.
He has not, however, sold it to the American people.
Thus, when members of Congress decide which side they’re on in the Syrian intervention votes that are expected to take place next week, they will have to consider whether they want to respond to pro-war pressure from inside-the-Beltway—as so many did when they authorized action against Iraq—or to the anti-war sentiments of their constituents.
Reflecting on the proposed intervention, Congressman Alan Grayson, D-Florida, allowed as how “nobody wants this except the military-industrial complex.”
The level of opposition might not be quite so overwhelming.
But it is strikingly high.
And, even as the president makes his case, skepticism about intervention appears to be growing.
A Pew Research survey released Tuesday found support for air strikes had collapsed from 45 percent to 29 percent, while opposition had spiked. “The public has long been skeptical of U.S. involvement in Syria, but an April survey found more support than opposition to the idea of a US-led military response if the use of chemical weapons was confirmed,” Pew reported Tuesday. “The new survey finds both broad concern over the possible consequences of military action in Syria and little optimism it will be effective.”
The latest Washington Post/ABC News poll, released after the president announced he would seek congressional authorization for an attack on Syria, and after several days of administration lobbying for that attack, found that voters are overwhelmingly opposed to intervention.
“The United States says it has determined that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons in the civil war there,” the Post/ABC poll asked. “Given this, do you support or oppose the United States launching missile strikes against the Syrian government?”
* Sixty percent of registered voters (59 percent of all respondents) express opposition. Just 36 percent support intervention.