National Security Brief: Poll Shows Support For Military Response To Chemical Weapons Use In Syria

A new poll released on Monday by Pew Research found that a plurality of respondents said they would support U.S. military action against Syria if there is confirmation that the regime used chemical weapons.

While 45 percent said they favored “military action against Syria, if use of chemical weapons by Syria is confirmed,” 31 percent opposed and 23 percent said they don’t know.

The Hill notes that “poll notched an 18-point jump in support for U.S. military action since its December survey, when 27 percent said the U.S. should intervene before there were reports of a Syrian chemical weapon attack.”

Meanwhile, a new New York Times/CBS News poll asked respondents — without mentioning the chemical weapons issue — whether the U.S. “has a responsibility to do something about the fighting in Syria between government forces and anti-government groups.” Sixty-two percent said no while 24 percent said the U.S. does have a responsibility to do something about the fighting there.

CNN reported on Monday that the Pentagon is stepping up plans for potential military action in Syria. “There is intensified planning in the works as more precise information comes in on the Syrian regime’s potential use of chemical weapons and the body of evidence grows,” a senior administration official said.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Tuesday the U.S. is still trying to put the pieces together on the chemical weapons issue. “We are continuing to assess what happened — when, where,” said Hagel. “I think we should wait to get the facts before we make any judgments on what action, if any should be taken, and what kind of action.”

In other news:

  • The Hill reported on Monday: Iran’s crude oil exports hit a 26-year low last year because of U.S. and international sanctions, the government’s independent energy information agency said. The latest round of sanctions cut the country’s net estimated oil export revenue down to only $69 billion in 2012, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) – 27 percent less than in 2011. Oil exports account for more than half of government revenue.
  • The AP reports: The U.S. service academies are ramping up efforts to groom a new breed of cyberspace warriors to confront increasing threats to the nation’s military and civilian computer networks that control everything from electrical power grids to the banking system.
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