Now that public pressure has foiled US plans to bomb Syria, the next urgent step is to build public pressure for stopping the deluge of weapons into that country.
Top officials in Washington are happy that American “lethal aid” has begun to flow into Syria, and they act as though such arms shipments are unstoppable. In a similar way, just a few short weeks ago, they-and the conventional wisdom-insisted that US missile strikes on Syria were imminent and inevitable.
But public opinion, when activated, can screw up the best-laid plans of war-makers. And political conditions are now ripe for cutting off the flow of weaponry to Syria-again giving new meaning to the adage that “when the people lead, the leaders will follow.”
Contrary to what many assume, the latest polls show that a large majority of Americans are opposed to the US government sending weapons to Syria. For instance, in a CNN/ORC survey taken September 6-8, a whopping 85 percent of people in the US answered “not either side” when asked whether the United States “should take the side of the Syrian government, or take the side of the Syrian rebels, or not take either side.”
A recent ABC News/Washington Post Poll-asking “Do you support or oppose the United States and its allies supplying weapons to the Syrian rebels?”-found that 70 percent “oppose.”