France's president said on Friday that his country is still willing to participate in a military action against Syria, even though the U.K., Germany, and about half of all Americans aren't interested. Francois Hollande said the decision by the British Parliament to vote down a proposed military strike will have no effect on his government's willingness to participate and that an attack could still happen next week. The French Parliament will debate the matter next Wednesday.
Hollande, like others in the international community, insisted that "the chemical massacre of Damascus cannot remain unpunished." Most of the world seems to agree, yet can't decide how the punishment is supposed to work. A new NBC News poll shows that 50 percent of Americans say they are "opposed" to military action against Syria in response to the chemical weapon attack, and only 42 percent in favor of it. But when asked specifically if they support cruise missile strikes only, that number reverses, with 50 percent in favor of an attack and just 44 percent opposed. And that's after 58 percent say that using chemical weapons requires a response, which only underscores how confused and conflicted the public is about the whole incident. After all, a full 20 percent of respondents said they hadn't even heard about the chemical attack on the news.
Before the Obama administration can convince the people, it has to convince Congress. The president spoke to key Congressional members last night and will continue to try and win support for the intervention by presenting more evidence of the Assad regime's guilt. There still remains more doubt about the effectiveness of cruise missile strikes than there is about the awfulness of the Syrian conflict, but Obama appears determined to press forward with or without British help.
And while the world continues its debate, the war in Syria has not stopped, with fresh attacks and renewed fighting between the rebels and the government.