The Times West Virginian


September 8, 2013

Idea of strike on Syria extremely unpopular

Popularity is a funny thing. Sometimes you’ve got it. Sometimes you don’t. It’s an ebb and flow situation.

But to be the least popular it 20 years ... that’s saying something.

And while war isn’t popular, ever, those citizens who can support military actions are gauged. And apparently, even the idea military action in Syria by U.S. forces (a decision has yet to be made) is the least popular move in more than 20 years.

For example, a Gallup poll in the fall of 2001 showed that 82 percent of Americans favored military action in Afghanistan. This was less than a month after the Sept. 11 terrorist strikes, and Americans wanted some kind of retaliation after the loss of more than 3,000 citizens on U.S. soil. Afghanistan and Osama bin Laden were the targets, though it would be more than a decade before the elusive head of the terrorist group responsible for the 9/11 attacks was killed in a raid.

But flash forward two years to Saddam Hussein and taking down his regime in Iraq. In 2003, a Gallup poll found that only 59 percent of Americans could support that. Not bad, and not too far from the 62 percent who supported a similar mission in the Persian Gulf in 1991.

But former President Bill Clinton had a hard time convincing his constituents that the U.S. military needed to be involved in Kosovo. In 1999, Gallup reported that 43 percent supported action, while 45 percent opposed, with a very large 12 percent undecided on the measure.

Today, even with the swing vote, action in Syria is not supported by those polled by Gallup. Between Sept. 3-4, those polled were 36 percent in favor, 51 percent against and 13 percent undecided. What does that mean? President Barack Obama has an uphill battle to not only convince Congress but the American people that the U.S. needs to get involved in the Syrian civil war because of chemical weapons the current administration has used against its citizens.

And he plans to make his case straight to the people on Tuesday.

“Failing to respond to this breach of this international norm would send a signal to rogue nations, authoritarian regimes and terrorist organizations that they can develop and use weapons of mass destruction and not pay a consequence,” Obama said Friday at the G-20 summit. “And that’s not the world that we want to live in.”

At issue is a strike against Syrian President Bashar Assad who, U.S. intelligence agencies report, killed 1,400 using chemical weapons in a Damascus suburb in the midst of civil war. Hundreds of those killed, activists and agencies say, were small children.

“I was elected to end wars and not start them,” Obama said. “I’ve spent the last 4 1/2 years doing everything I can to reduce our reliance on military power as a means of meeting our international obligations and protecting the American people.

“I will continue to consult with Congress and I will make the best case that I can to the American people, as well as to the international community, for taking necessary and appropriate action,” he said. “And I intend to address the American people from the White House on Tuesday.”

Again, popularity changes. It’s entirely possible that his White House address will change minds and change hearts. But for now, the only poll we’re interested in is the one the readers log on to each week to express their opinions on the week’s hot topics.

And our poll is certainly not reflective of the national one. Last week, we asked about the possibility of a military strike on Syria and whether readers believed “information that Syria using chemical weapons in this way justifies a military strike?”

And here’s what you had to say.

• Yes. It’s our responsibility to protect innocent civilians from massacre — 5.05 percent.

• It depends on the action. If American boots never hit the ground, I could support a military strike — 19.19 percent.

• No, this nation cannot afford another war. The cost of lives and resources is too much — 75.76 percent.

Uphill? Oh my, yes.

This week, let’s talk about fast food. Thousands have staged protests across the country to call attention to the struggles of liv­ing on the federal minimum wage and believe there should be a boost in pay. Where do you stand?

Log on. Vote. Email me or respond online.

Misty Poe

Managing Editor


Text Only
  • Prevention must remain focus when dealing with cruel black lung disease

    “Preventable, but not curable.”
    That’s how Joe Main, assistant secretary of labor for Mine Safety and Health, describes black lung disease.
    He could also use the word “deadly.”
    According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, black lung has killed more than 76,000 miners since 1968.

    August 1, 2014

  • If something seems too good to be true, then assume that it is

    Scam. noun. A confidence game or other fraudulent scheme, especially for making a quick profit; swindle.
    This is a word that Marion Countians have heard a lot about in the past few years. And the problem appears to be one that is getting worse every day.

    July 31, 2014

  • State must convince parents, schools about benefits of Common Core

    It’s always nice to have a little bit of background information before diving into something new.
    So we have to agree with West Virginia Board of Education president Gayle Manchin when she says the state should have done a better job of explaining Common Core standards when they were first introduced.
    Those standards, part of a national educational initiative that sets learning goals designed to prepare students in kindergarten through 12th grade for college and career, will be fully implemented in every West Virginia school district next month.

    July 30, 2014

  • Time is now for Tomblin to support King Coal Highway

    U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., is asking Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to add the King Coal Highway project to West Virginia’s six-year highway improvement plan. It is a logical request, and one that Tomblin should act promptly on.

    July 29, 2014

  • United effort to keep NASA in Fairmont is essential project

    The high-technology sector is obviously vital to the economy of North Central West Virginia.
    That’s why a strong, united effort to keep the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Program in Fairmont is absolutely essential.

    July 27, 2014

  • COLUMN: Calling all readers: Be heard

    I love to talk to readers.
    I love to hear concerns they have about stories we’ve written, things they think should be included in the newspaper and things they think shouldn’t be.

    July 27, 2014

  • Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial

    NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
    And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.

    July 25, 2014

  • Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives

    It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
    We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.

    July 24, 2014

  • Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely

    The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
    It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
    It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.

    July 23, 2014

  • Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer

    July 22, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Politics
House Ads