The images of dead and dying Syrians from the Ghouta attack sparked global outrage, but don’t appear to have changed the American public’s opposition to a U.S. military intervention, according to the findings released Sunday from a Reuters/Ipsos poll that was conducted Aug. 19-23.
About 60 percent of Americans said that Obama shouldn’t intervene in Syria’s civil war, while just 9 percent favored action, according to the survey. More Americans would support U.S. intervention if the use of chemical weapons were to be confirmed — with 25 percent in favor, 46 percent opposed — but that’s a decline since Aug. 13, when a previous Reuters/Ipsos poll asked the same question and got responses of 30.2 percent in support of intervention to 41.6 opposed.
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In Congress, an influential Democrat and a prominent Republican sparred over how quickly the United States should respond and whether Obama should be able to order military action without congressional authorization.
Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, senior Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he believes the Syrian government launched the chemical attacks.
“I think it’s very evident that the regime has acted in this way,” Corker said on “Fox News Sunday.”
“I think there are indications this is real,” he said, “This was not contrived. And obviously the world is a better place when the United States takes leadership. This is time for us to do this. I hope we will do it soon.”
Corker said Obama should wait until Congress returns to Washington in two weeks from its summer break, and then seek authorization for several possible military responses.
“I hope the president, as soon as we get back to Washington, will ask for authorization from Congress to do something in a very surgical and proportional way, something that gets their attention, that causes them to understand that we are not going to put up with this kind of activity,” Corker said.