Dumb Into Damascus

Is this any way to go to war?

There's some powerful video coming out of Senator John McCain engaging with his constituents. From what I can tell there were a number of citizens in the audience with Syrian roots, many of whom were not convinced by the case for war. They have company:

By a 48% to 29% margin, more Americans oppose than support conducting military airstrikes against Syria in response to reports that the Syrian government used chemical weapons.

The new national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Aug. 29-Sept. 1 among 1,000 adults, finds that Obama has significant ground to make up in his own party. Just 29% of Democrats favor conducting airstrikes against Syria while 48% are opposed. Opinion among independents is similar (29% favor, 50% oppose). Republicans are more divided, with 35% favoring airstrikes and 40% opposed
Polls can never be the end-all, be-all of any policy. But when you have majorities in your own country opposing a war, when the president can't convince his own party, when alleged allies in the region and your strongest ally in the world oppose war, then it's time to rethink. A coalition isn't something you assemble just for show. It demonstrates a broad range of concerns and interests have come to the same conclusion. This cuts both ways. And so it's worth considering why a broad range of concerns and interests are now united in opposition. 
 
Put simply -- is this any way to go to war? I don't think Senator Obama would have been convinced.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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