A new CNN poll finds that 71% of Americans oppose military action in Syria. Even if Congress were to authorize a strike, a clear majority, 55%, would still oppose military action in Syria. Although an overwhelming majority think it is likely Bashar Assad used chemical weapons, 69% don’t think it is a matter of US national security.
The results speak to the terrible job the Obama Administration has done in trying to sell the public on the need for military action. On the eve of the US invasion of Iraq, 85% of Americans supported military action, if that action had the support of the United Nations. Even without UN support, 54% of Americans supported an invasion of Iraq. While most Americans grew to oppose the Iraq War after years of a turbulent occupation of the country, President Bush did a far better job of swaying public opinion than Barack Obama has achieved.
The issue is a particular risk for members of Congress. Before the Iraq War, more Americans said they would be more likely to support a lawmaker who voted to authorize military action than voted to oppose. Today, just 11% say they would support a lawmaker who voted for military action in Syria. Almost three times as many, 31%, say they would definitely oppose an elected official who supports action in Syria.
President Obama has been cocooned by the media. His reelection against an inept Romney campaign led him to the false notion that he has a personal mandate with the American public. He mistakenly believes that the public will, preternaturally, rally behind his position.
Syria should be his own, private wake-up call.