Despite a recent clamor within Washington policy circles and troublesome commentary in the U.S. media regarding further military intervention in Syria’s unrest, a new survey of U.S. opinion shows little appetite for another war of choice in a region far from home.
The poll, conducted by CBS News and the New York Times, shows 62 percent of Americans believe “the U.S. does not have a responsibility to intervene in Syria.”
As CBS News reports:
Sixty-two percent of Americans continue to say the United States does not have a responsibility to intervene in the fighting in Syria, while 24 percent of Americans think the United States does have a responsibility to do something about the fighting between government forces and anti-government groups there.
Most Democrats, Republicans, and independents agree that the U.S. does not have a responsibility to get involved in the conflict in Syria.
Progressive foreign policy analysts, for their part, have been consistent in their warnings against such involvement.
Phyllis Bennis, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, says that a growing push for war in Syria should remind U.S. citizens of the invasion of Iraq in 2003, which was largely fueled by an uncritical press and a barrage of false information by some of the same power brokers now pushing for intervention in Syria.
“Now, we don’t know that there is any fake information going on [in Syria],” Bennis said in an interview with Al-Jazeera. “But we certainly know that there is no valid information yet. So I think it is way premature to be talking about whether this should result in a ‘game changing’ scenario-whether it be boots on the ground, or helping the rebels with more weapons.”
And Seumas Milne, foreign affairs columnist at the Guardian, has described how “intervention by the western powers” could “increase the death toll,” warning the possibility of “blowback” in Syria is extremely high and could push the region into “a still more devastating conflict.”
Simply adding more arms to the region, Bennis argues, will make things worse, not better.
“We need to move towards demilitarizing, deescalating the number of weapons of all kinds that are flowing into the region, not sending in more weapons and escalating the war,” she said. “Killing more Syrians on any side with conventional weapons in a so-called search for alleged chemical weapons that may or may not even exist…this is just making everything worse.” Democracy Now
FACTS & FIGURES
Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of Syrian army and security personnel, have been killed in the violence.
The Syrian government says that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals.
Since February, the U.S. has shipped food and medical supplies directly to the so-called Free Syrian Army. The aid was expanded later to include defensive military equipment. So far, the U.S. has provided an estimated $117 million in nonlethal aid to the Syrian insurgents, according to the White House. AP
U.S. President Barack Obama is preparing to send lethal weaponry to Syrian militants, stepping up its efforts against the government of President Bashar al-Assad, the Washington Post reports.
Obama is likely to make a final decision on the supply of arms to the foreign-backed militants within weeks, before a scheduled meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in June, the post cited officials familiar with the issue.
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