A massive percentage of the American people really want US forces to start dropping bombs in Syria after the regime’s likely use of chemical weapons.
A new Reuters/Ipsos poll has finally found something that Americans like even less than Congress: the possibility of U.S. military intervention in Syria. Only 9 percent of respondents said that the Obama administration should intervene militarily in Syria; a RealClearPolitics poll average finds Congress has a 15 percent approval rating, making the country’s most hated political body almost twice as popular.
The Reuters/Ipsos poll was taken Aug.19-23, the very same week that horrific reports emerged strongly suggesting that Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad has used chemical weapons against his own people, potentially 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. But this is the lowest support for intervention since the poll began tracking opinion on the issue. The survey also found that 60 percent oppose intervention outright, with the rest, perhaps sagely, saying that they don’t know.
Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey and the so-called Arab Spring have taught Americans lessons about the Middle East. Modernity has not only not caught on there, it is demonstrably in retreat as sharia takes on a more influential and dominant role in every day life. Even hundreds of thousands of American troops and thousands of those killed and wounded across a decade did not turn either Iraq or Afghanistan into anything most Americans would recognize as civilized. Turkey has looked at modernity and, more and more, rejects it. In Syria, we have the probability that the US would be siding with al Qaeda against a nominally secular but nonetheless radical regime that sides with Iran and Hizballah informing our choice. There is no idealistic causus belli here, nothing to fight for, only horrible ideas to fight against. It’s a case of which side deserves to catch bombs more than the other side. Whichever side we help win will only become our next enemy five minutes after this war ends.
In addition to all of that, President Obama and his national security team have done nothing at all to take the case for intervention to the American people. They evidently intend to go without Congress, just as they did in Libya. It’s even less likely than Libya to end well, and Libya did not end well. If you liked Benghazi, you’ll love whatever comes of Obama, Kerry and Hagel unilaterally intervening in Syria.