Nightly News   |  September 05, 2013

Majority of Americans against Syrian intervention

Across the nation, taxpayers said they’re wary of entering another war and think the funds could be spent better elsewhere. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> good evening. again, tonight, there is a robust debate going on in this country over whether or not the president should launch a limited u.s. military strike against syria . and overseas tonight in russia, eight time zones away from washington, there's a summit now under way of the world 's leading nations, which today at times behind closed doors looked more like a tension convention, as the relationship between president obama and putin of russia and others is under genuine stress. all of this as the civil war goes on in syria , a conflict where it isn't always easy to tell the good guys from the bad guys . it's where we begin again tonight, our chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell covering it all from our d.c. newsroom. andr andrea, good evening.

>> good evening. polls show the majority of americans oppose military action in syria . but as john mccain found in phoenix, people who turned out for town hall meetings are totally against it.

>> you see the president's policy change almost by the week, the days or the hours, but how much is the life of american servicemen worth? to me, it's worth a whole lot.

>> there's no contemplation of putting a single american serviceman or woman --

>> you say that now.

>> reporter: people brought signs and props.

>> you really realize what you're getting our -- what you're getting our country into? this is what i think of congress. they are a bunch of marshmallows.

>> i got your message, pal will.

>> reporter: even syrian americans disagreed. this man who supports military action was shouted down.

>> this is america. i have right to speak!

>> you can do it by diplomacy and negotiation, not bombs, senator mccain . enough is enough! we do not want another engagement in the middle east .

>> i would much rather use our taxpayers' money to take care of our vets that are coming home from the two conflicts we've already been in.

>> i don't think i need to be lectured about lectures.

>> reporter: across the country in baltimore, house democrat elijah cummings ' district loves barack obama but hates talk of war.

>> whenever you get into a war there's never a short war.

>> they're worried about what's next. they have the backdrop of iraq, and that is deep in the dna of every cell of their brains.

>> reporter: not helping the president's case, this picture and video from the "new york times" today. rebels allegedly assassinating syrian soldiers, shooting them at point-blank range. a day after secretary kerry said most of the rebels are not alded ald extremists. msnbc's chris hayes asked secretary kerry about it.

>> i guarantee you if we turn our backs today, the picture we all saw in the picture today, on the media, those people being shot, that will take place more because more extremists will be attracted to this.

>> reporter: the risk for the white house , this becomes the iconic image of the war, just as this south vietnamese general came to symbolize america's ally in that conflict. the first senate vote to authorize the strike is scheduled for next wednesday. a " washington post " count shows the administration is losing support in the house with every day.

>> andrea mitchell , thanks.

>>> as the debate goes on here, as we mentioned, the president far from home tonight.