Few Americans Support A Western-Led Military Strike In Syria

We hear the opinions of people around the country on Thursday as Congress considers whether the U.S. should launch a military strike in Syria.

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block. President Obama is working the phones today from Europe, pressing Congress to approve military action against Syria. The president also cancelled a trip next week to California so he can focus on Syria. Yesterday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to support the use of force, but whether the bill can clear the full Senate and the Republican-controlled House of Representatives is anyone's guess.

Already, many lawmakers have come out against the idea of strikes and that seems consistent with the general public's view. The Pew Research Center released a poll this week that found just 29 percent of people in the U.S. favor airstrikes in response to reports that the Syrian government used chemical weapons. A Washington Post/ABC News poll found 36 percent support strikes.

Ahead of the big Syria vote next week, we asked people around the country what message they would send to Congress. Here's some of what we heard.

JENNIFER PRICE: I'm Jennifer Price(ph) and I live in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. I feel like, you know, we have always stuck our nose where it don't belong. They got their self in this mess. Now they need to get their selves out.

JOHN KEITH: I'm John Keith(ph), owner of Keith's Country Store in Pittsburg, Vermont. If it's such a serious problem then the proof needs to be shown a lot more than it has. I do believe that we need the support of our allies before we jump into another hotbed.

CORAL TATE: My name is Coral Tate(ph) and I live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I don't necessarily think the United States should act alone on this endeavor. I think they should get the consent of the international community.

ALISHA SANCHEZ: My name is Alisha Sanchez(ph). I live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We should step back and let somebody else sort it out. We're like the world police, you know what I mean. We have to focus on solving our own problems before we try and save the world.

BILL CROSSEN: My name is Bill Crossen(ph) and I'm from Los Angeles. We don't want to have another thing that happened in Rwanda, for example, where thousands of people died and nobody did anything.

MYA MCCORMICK: My name is Mya McCormick(ph) and I'm from Los Angeles, California. I support the idea that we need to take action and do something, like be there, but I don't think you can just say we're going to do it for 90 days 'cause you never know if it's going to take longer.

KIMBERLY SUMPTER: I'm Kimberly Sumpter(ph). I'm from Baltimore, Maryland. Congress should authorize the military in Syria. I think we need to do whatever we have to to keep the peace.

DANIEL GONZALEZ: Daniel Gonzalez(ph), I'm from Baltimore, Maryland. I think they need to focus domestically on our problems before we keep getting involved in foreign wars.

BOB WHITEMAN: My name is Bob Whiteman(ph). I'm from Cookeville, Tennessee. The whole thing's a no-win situation 'cause I think if you go in there, I mean, you know, where does it stop? Our moral stance says, you know, it probably needs to be done if it can be done where it actually accomplishes something.

BLOCK: People across the country today offering their messages to Congress about whether to authorize air strikes against Syria.

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