Americans Think Bashar Assad Used Chemical Weapons. They Still Don't Want to Go to War in Syria.


The Obama administration's argument for striking Syria has leaned heavily on its case that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons against his own people.

Secretary of State John Kerry has been particularly vocal on this front. When the government released a report detailing its evidence that chemical weapons had been used, Kerry gave a speech with a long list of "we knows" and highlighted the report's "verdict" — that the Assad regime had indeed used chemical weapons — as being both "clear" and "compelling."

It may be clear to most Americans. But it doesn't seem to be compelling. A CNN poll released today finds that eight of 10 Americans think that the Assad regime did in fact use chemical weapons against Syrian civilians.

But 71 percent say they don't think President Obama should order strikes in Syria with no approval resolution from Congress. And even with an approval resolution from Congress, a majority — 55 percent — want to avoid military action.

It's not the evidence of chemical weapons use that the public is unconvinced by. It's the case that American interests would be served by going to war. As CNN reports, "More than seven in 10 say such a strike would not achieve significant goals for the U.S. and a similar amount say it's not in the national interest for the U.S. to get involved in Syria's bloody two-year-long civil war."

And at least some of them say they are prepared to hold their congressional representatives accountable on the issue. Although a 57 percent majority said the vote would make no difference in how they voted for their current representative, 31 percent said a vote to strike would make them more likely to vote against their current congress critter  — while just 11 percent said it would make them more likely to vote in favor. That means the energy is against the strikes. And legislators are more likely to lose than gain by supporting an attack against Syria. 

Tomorrow night, President Obama will attempt to sway a skeptical public in a prime-time address outline the administration's case for action. What these poll numbers show is that it won't be enough to simply assert that chemical weapons were used in Syria. He'll also have to explain why the U.S. has a compelling national interest in a military response. So far, he hasn't successfully made that case — perhaps because there isn't one to be made. 

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  1. Say it again, louder. That'll convince us.

    1. Are you trying to summon shreek?

    2. Kannst du nicht h?r'n, denn das sag' ich's Dir
      Immer lauter, immer lauter:
      Bombs rule the world - darum singen wir
      Immer lauter, immer lauter!
      Lass' mich Dich st?r'n, stell Dein Radio
      Immer lauter, immer lauter, immer lauter-
      Bis Du's kapierst

      1. 99 Luftballoons?

  2. The Obama "prime time address" seems to have lost its mojo. Perhaps a little over-exposed?

    1. He is always getting closer to "more mush from the wimp" status.

    2. Welcome to 2012. Have you been asleep the whole time?

      1. You may need to adjust your sarcasm detector.

  3. I predict this will result in a big win for the Democrats in 2014. If Obama doesn't get his war, they will spin it as Dems doing the right thing and listening to their constituents. Reps get no credit because they're the opposition.

    If Obama gets his war (unlikely in my estimation at this time), the atrocities revealed in Syria will be blown up on every news show accompanied by Obama and Dem statements that we prevented the next Rwanda.

    1. You're right that the GOP will get no credit, but otherwise, I don't think so. The big push for war has alienated many Obama supporters. If he attacks, they'll be even more upset, and the consequences (terror attacks, etc.) will not be good.

      "Never do any enemy a small injury." ?Niccol? Machiavelli

    2. If Obama gets his war (unlikely in my estimation at this time)

      Oh, poor db. You underestimate the power of the Warboehner.

      1. Obama's warboner is so hard he could chisel through concrete with it.

        1. Maybe he can address some of the complaints I've heard about the new MLK Jr. statue...

        2. but can he hammer a 6in spike through a board?

    3. If Obama gets his war (unlikely in my estimation at this time), ...

      Kerry just drew another red line, giving Assad 1 week to turn over all chemical weapons. To me that means the administration will start bombing in 1 week no matter what Congress does. I think they are going to shoot themselves in the foot again on this one.

      1. Yes, it does seem likely they'll act in a vain attempt to avoid looking more foolish than they already do.

    4. It's pretty astonishing how obvious "the media" is. Every time I catch a national news show, they're showing video of the gas attack, interviewing survivors, getting children to call for action. I guess it's a good sign that a lot of people aren't falling for it.

  4. Nevertheless, Secretary of State John Kerry demanded that the Syrian government hand over "every single bit" of their chemical weapons within a week.

    It's been One Week since you looked at me
    Fueled the Tomahawks and said "get ready"
    Five days since you yelled at me:
    "Well kick your ass with our friends at G-20"
    Three days since you walked it back
    "There's no red line; pulled it from my ass crack"
    Yesterday you said you were the real thing
    But it's been a few days and now the world's laughing.

    1. Do you really think they're dumb enough to draw another red line and not act on it again?

  5. If most Americans don't want it then I do want it.

      1. He's a libercontrarian.

  6. I was with some friends the other day when the topic of "Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Syria" came up. I could hear the desperation in their voices when they said, "Oh, it's not gonna happen. He won't really do it."

    I don't think they liked it when I suggested it would, purely for reasons related to the Footstamper-in-Chief's self esteem.

    1. He's just trying to uphold the world's credibility.

  7. Well shucks, I have plans tomorrow night so I guess I'll miss Obama's big speech. Someone make a infuriating highlights vid for me.

    1. Just go watch a "greatest hits" compilation from previous speeches. It'll be pretty much the same inane drivel, slightly repackaged perhaps.

      1. I doubt he'll even slightly repackage it; he doesn't have to worry about getting himself elected again.

  8. It may be clear to most Americans. But it doesn't seem to be compelling. A CNN poll released today finds that eight of 10 Americans think that the Assad regime did in fact use chemical weapons against Syrian civilians.

    Finally, Obama signalled his lackeys to deploy the push poll.

    The majority totally believes his lack of evidence that Assad used Sarin on civilians, but they're just war-weary becasue BOOOSSSHHHHH!!!!!

    1. It's not clear cut evidence per se, but those who have seen the classified intelligence feel that chemical weapons were indeed used, and common sense tells us that a dictator who wants the world to stay out of his civil war would use such weapons, thus inviting outside intervention. Am I right?

      1. B+.

        Would have received full points if you had discussed how this is not a court of law therefore speculation and insinuation take the place of facts.


    Link to actual article with pics.

    ". Dead_Center 4 hours ago
    1 2 Wouldn't it be 'funny' if someone did that to his wife? It'd be all in 'fun' right? "

    ...even tho the woman in the photo was a employee and did the photo willingly...

    1. Damnit, I wanted it to link the SF's blog.

      1. 1 2 Wouldn't it be 'funny' if someone did that to his wife? It'd be all in 'fun' right? "

        If his wife is into that sort of thing...then yes.

        I had to double-take at that decal. Very detailed.

        Kolb could just claim he was being avant-garde and trying to "shock" the squares out of their complacency. That usually works.

  10. Exactly. If one tin pot dictator uses WWI weapons, it's no reason for another to start WWIII.

  11. Whatever reason the president gives of going to war, it will not be the reason for going to war.

    No one involved gives a shit whether the Syrian government used chemical weapons to kill 5000 people anymore than they are concerned about the other 100,000 people that have been killed by traditional weapons. But someone wants the U.S. involved in that war and THAT'S why the president is planning an attack.

  12. I have plans tomorrow night so I guess I'll miss Obama's big speech.

    You were not in front of the telescreen during Big brother's speech last night, Citizen. Have you a valid excuse?

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