Even as pressure mounts on President Barack Obama to order some sort of military intervention in the Syrian conflict, a new poll commissioned by the news agency Reuters shows that most Americans want nothing to do with another American war in the Middle East.
The poll was taken after still-unconfirmed stories surfaced saying that the Syrian government attacked civilians with chemical weapons, but before today’s report that U.N. inspectors on their way to investigate the chemical weapons allegations were fired upon by snipers.
Syrian state-run media said that the sniper fire was the work of “terrorists.” Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has dismissed the chemical attack allegations as “an insult to common sense.”
An article in the New York Times last week said that Obama’s aides are studying the 1999 NATO-led air war in Kosovo as a possible model for U.S. military intervention to stop the alleged chemical weapons attacks by the Syrian government against rebel forces.
But according to the Reuters/Ipsos poll, a mere 9 percent of Americans want Obama to stage any kind of U.S. intervention in Syria, while 60 percent say they oppose such action.
The numbers change if the reports of chemical attacks on civilians turn out to be true, but even then, only one in four Americans would want to see U.S. action in Syria while slightly less than half would still firmly oppose it.
The latest poll was completed Aug. 23. An earlier poll taken Aug. 13 found more than 30 percent of Americans favoring intervention if Syria used chemical weapons. The polls show that as the Syrian conflict intensifies, the American public is growing increasingly skeptical about U.S. action to affect events there.
"The United States has become too much of the world's policeman and we have become involved in too many places that should be a United Nations realm, not ours," said one Reuters poll respondent, Charles Kohls, 68, a former military officer, to the news agency.
SOURCES: Reuters, New York Times, BBC News