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As White House Weighs Options For Syria, U.S. Public Wary Of Military Action

posted 30 Aug 2013, 11:03 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 30 Aug 2013, 11:03 ]

Many Americans are skeptical of military intervention in Syria as Obama administration mulls course of action in Syria.

WASHINGTON, D.C., UNTIED STATES (AUGUST 30, 2013) (REUTERS) -  As the White House planned to release on Friday (August 30) an unclassified version of an intelligence assessment of a chemical weapons attack last week in Syria, a recent NBC poll says 50 percent of Americans believe the U.S. should not intervene in Syria.

The report may give Americans more insight into why President Barack Obama has said that his officials have concluded that the Bashar al-Assad government is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of people in a Damascus suburb.

Obama administration officials shared evidence with lawmakers within hours of the British parliament voting against taking military action in Syria.

Obama and his officials are weighing the options on how to respond to the attack, including a possible missile strike. Obama has said he does not want to get drawn into a protracted conflict, but wants to ensure that chemical weapons are not used again.

The NBC poll also showed that 80 percent of Americans believe president Barack Obama should receive congressional approval before using force in Syria.

U.S. lawmakers brought up a range of complications for Obama including questions of whether the "limited" military action Obama has suggested would really discourage Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from again using chemical weapons on civilians, and even whether the Pentagon could afford to attack Syria after the $85 billion in automatic spending cuts that Congress imposed on thefederal government earlier this year.

Obama has left little doubt in recent days that the choice was not whether, but when, to punishAssad's government for last week's chemical weapons attack against Syrian rebels outsideDamascus. It was one of the most gruesome assaults in a 2 1/2-year civil war that the United Nations estimates has killed more than 100,000 people.

Visitors at the White House said the U.S. should be slow to take action in Syria.

"I think we ought to be very patient. I think we've made some mistakes in the past, I think rushing in on this one...I know the line was drawn and things apparently occurred and crossed the line but I think we need to be patient on this," Jeff Brown told Reuters.

"For the U.S. there are larger implications that need to be thought about with Iran and Israel and thinking about how we need to act diplomatically," Phoebe Coleman added.

Obama administration officials said Thursday (August 29) that the president was willing to launch a limited strike against Syria even without specific promises of support from allies because U.S. national security interests were at stake.