Despite a recent clamor within Washington policy circles and troublesome commentary in the US media regarding further military intervention in Syria’s ongoing civil war, a new survey of US 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 per cent of Americans believe “the U.S. does not have a responsibility to intervene in Syria.”
As CBS News reports:
Sixty-two per cent 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 – a four point increase since last month.
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 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 columnnist 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 civil 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.”
Jacob Chamberlain is a staff writer with Common Dreams, where this article first appeared.