Just 31 percent back aid to Syrian rebels after chemical attack

Brendan Bordelon | Contributor

While Washington is moved to action by the apparent crossing of President Obama’s “red line” by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad last week, many Americans are decidedly unmoved by the alleged chemical attack. Most, in fact, would prefer to stay out of Syria’s bloody civil war altogether.

A new Rasmussen poll released Monday shows that only 31 percent of likely voters would support increased military assistance to Syria’s rebels if the government’s use of chemical weapons is confirmed.

Thirty-seven percent remain opposed, while a considerable 33 percent remain on the fence about US aid to the Syrian opposition.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll released Friday, two days after government rockets purportedly dumped nerve agents on a Damascus suburb, shows even less stomach for direct intervention.

A paltry 9 percent believes that President Obama should order military strikes against the Syrian government to protect civilians, while a whopping 60 percent stood opposed to any such operation.

The percentage of likely voters willing to back a military option only if chemical weapons were used actually declined the very week such an attack took place, dropping from 30 percent in early August to just 25 percent last week.

But despite the lukewarm reception, on Monday the Obama administration signaled an intent to begin attacks on Syrian government positions following Wednesday’s chemical assault that killed as many as 1,300 and sickened thousands.

“What we saw in Syria last week should shock the conscience of the world. … [It] is a moral obscenity,” Secretary of State John Kerry told a press conference Monday afternoon.

“What is before us today is real, and it is compelling,” he continued. “Make no mistake, President Obama believes there must be accountability for those who would use the world’s most heinous weapons against the world’s most vulnerable people.”

“Nothing today is more serious, and nothing is receiving more serious scrutiny,” he concluded.

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