How Do You Want Your Congressperson to Vote on Syria?

BY Colleen Shalby  September 3, 2013 at 5:58 PM EDT

President Barack Obama meets in the Situation Room with his national security advisors to discuss strategy in Syria of the White House. Photo courtesy of the White House.

On Saturday, President Barack Obama addressed the nation on U.S. involvement in the Syrian conflict. The president made news on two fronts: he said that the U.S. should take military action in Syria, and that he will seek authorization from Congress before going forward.

“Our country is stronger when the president and the people’s representatives stand together,” Obama said.

The American people have already begun voicing their own votes for and against military involvement in Syria. A recent poll from Pew Research Center shows that 48 percent of Americans are against an airstrike in Syria, 29 percent are in favor of airstrike, while 23 percent of Americans remain unsure.

We asked the PBS NewsHour audience on Facebook and Twitter how they want their congressional representatives to vote on military involvement in Syria. Out of the nearly 500 responses we received, there was no overall consensus.

Many were adamant against involvement in Syria. Facebook user Adam Vogal asked, “how does creating more death and destruction stop death and destruction? It doesn’t. The paradigm of war is a broken one.”

And user Tony Ratagick did not believe chemical warfare was enough to intervene, saying, “prior to the use of chemical weapons, thousands were killed, imprisoned or tortured. Why does the method warrant our involvement? Are we saying that Assad can go on killing as long as he doesn’t use chemical weapons?”

Others cited international law and the use of chemical weapons as reasons to take action.

“Punishing Assad’s forces for using chemical weapons isn’t about making a difference in the Syrian civil war. It’s about setting the precedent of cost for any leader who considers the same in the future,” said Facebook user Jeffrey Jones.

David Motley believes in intervention “so long as we can avoid putting boots on the ground, and as long as our intervention doesn’t directly cause the death of more innocent civilians. And if we have an endgame so we know clearly when the intervention would be over.”

Several remained questioning and wanted more information about potential repercussions for actions of force or passivity before solidifying their opinion.

“I am so conflicted by this whole nightmare. I want the UN to step up & take a leadership position in organizing against the Asad brutes. But I don’t want to Americanize the Syrian civil war.” Facebook user MaryAnn Williams said.

As President Obama’s administration continues to campaign for Congress’s approval for military action, this debate will only continue.

We’re asking you to keep weighing into this conversation. How do you want your congressional representative to vote? What are your reasons? What questions remain for you? Tell us below.

And see our guide for the best way to contact your representative or senator.


Read more:

*Read the latest on Syria’s civil war on the NewsHour’s Syria page*.