New Pew poll finds Americans wary of intervening in Syria. (PEW)
The findings may reflect the public's wariness about wading into what it perceives as a protracted civil war between the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and Syrian rebels. The year-old Syrian uprising and crackdown has killed an estimated 8,000 people. The results also appear to reflect Americans' war-weariness more than a decade after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Sixty-two percent of Americans surveyed expressed opposition to bombing the Syrian military, an idea recently proposed by Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), the new Pew poll found. Almost the same number--63 percent--said they oppose sending weapons to Syrian groups fighting the Assad regime.
Notably, the poll found little difference among Republicans and Democrats. "Majorities of Republicans and Democrats say the U.S. does not have a responsibility to get involved, and reject airstrikes or the shipment of arms to anti-government forces," the Pew pollsters wrote in an overview of their latest findings.
By contrast, polls have consistently found "much wider partisan differences over whether or not to maintain U.S. forces in Afghanistan and in concerns about Iran," the Pew publication stated. While overall, 57 percent of those surveyed say U.S. forces should be removed from Afghanistan as fast as possible, a far higher majority of Democrats—69 percent—favor the faster pull out, versus just 41 percent of Republicans surveyed. Just under two-thirds of independents polled—58 percent—favor the faster drawdown as well.
The national survey was conducted March 7-11—entirely before the March 12 shooting rampage by a U.S. staff sergeant that killed 16 Afghans—among 1,503 adults.
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