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University of Dayton's Ensalaco on Syria

In his address to the nation, President Obama stated his case for military involvement in Syria and his willingness for diplomatic options to take hold, but on this 9/11 anniversary, war-weary Americans are finding it hard to support another conflict.

Polls overwhelmingly show that Americans do not support even limited military strikes in Syria, and Mark Ensalaco, director of human rights studies at the University of Dayton, says they have good reason to be skeptical.

“We may go in and say we’re going to strike these units that we believe were responsible for this particular attack but there’s going to be a retaliation. So, the President can says it’s going to be a limited response all he wants, but the fact is, as soldiers will tell you, the enemy gets a vote in how long this will last.”

Ensalaco is the author of Middle Eastern Terrorism: From Black September to September 11. He says, since 2001, Al-Qaeda’s abilities to perform acts of terror have been degraded, and though they remain a serious threat, he believes American attitudes toward war and what comes of it has changed in the last 12 years 

“They do not see a distinction between a military retaliation for the use of poisonous weapons, they see this as the beginning of US intervention in a civil war, which no one wants a part of given the last few decades of involvement in the Middle East,” says Ensalaco.

Congress has also voiced its opposition to military intervention. A bipartisan group of Senators passed an alternate resolution that would direct the UN to confirm that chemical weapons were used, and then be responsible for removing those weapons.

Last night the President said he would in fact give U.N. inspectors time to report their findings on the August 21st gas attack in Syria, but would also continue to rally support from allies on the need for action.