The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

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August 31, 2013

Americans conflicted on Syria

(Continued)

 
The poll was conducted Wednesday and Thursday, before the administration's release Friday of an unclassified intelligence assessment that cited "high confidence" that the Syrian government carried out the attack.
 
A Washington Post-ABC News poll from December showed 63 percent in favor of U.S. military involvement if the Syrian government used chemical weapons against its people.
 
The NBC poll found scant support for arming Syrian rebels. About one-fourth of those questioned favor U.S. military action to help stop the killing of Syrian civilians, while just 6 percent prefer arming the rebels.
 
Americans with firsthand knowledge of Syrian refugees' plight talked in Des Moines about their wariness of U.S. military intervention.
 
"The pain and the despair people have experienced, and the loss of life, it's created a situation where people don't even know who they are anymore," Kate Altmaier, a 30-year-old administrative assistant, said in between sips of coffee outside a cafe.
 
Altmaier had just returned from the Mideast. In Lebanon, she saw the struggles of those refugees.
 
Anyone who thinks America's proper response is easy or obvious, she said, is misguided.
 
"Fighting evil with more darkness," said Altmaier, a self-described born-again Christian, is not the answer. "If someone has a good answer, I'll say they don't understand it. Even people who know a lot about it and have spent so much time there, it's a spider web."
 
Nearby, Elizabeth Jack was rocking her 5-month-old after the weekly story hour at the city's downtown public library. A family of Syrian immigrants lives in her neighborhood, she said, and the kids in the two households play together.
 
The Syrian parents fear for relatives still in the Middle East. "I know they are worried, and want someone to help," Jack said.

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