Apparently they are. From the news this evening, it appears that the voices of the U.S. population are being heard and congress appears (at least for now) to be listening.
If true, this poses a very interesting dilemma for the U.S. administration. Should the U.S. House vote strongly against this action in Syria and the administration continues with the plan to attack Syria, the fall-out could be significant. If the U.S. administration is forced to back down completely, it will be left in a very weakened position, even with the MSM carrying their water.
If congress does indeed vote favorably for the Obama administration, it will be clearly against the will of the American public, and that presents yet another interesting scenario, especially given the dramatic lack of support for congress recently as shown by polling data.
This whole scenario is getting very very interesting:
If the Senate passes a use-of-force resolution next week — which is no sure thing — the current dynamics suggest that the House would defeat it. That would represent a dramatic failure for Obama, and once again prove that his sway over Congress is extraordinarily limited. The loss would have serious reverberations throughout the next three months, when Obama faces off against Congress in a series of high-stakes fiscal battles.
Several Republican leadership aides, who are counting votes but not encouraging a position, say that there are roughly one to two dozen “yes” votes in favor of military action at this time. The stunningly low number is expected to grow a bit.
Mr Obama arrived St Petersburg for a tense G20 summit amid signs that Russia's opposition to US airstrikes was gaining significant international support.
Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, welcomed Mr Obama to his home town in an encounter that laid bare the increasingly difficult relationship between the two men.
After exchanging a stiff handshake and stern looks, Mr Obama and Mr Putin offered fixed smiles for the cameras before entering the Konstantinovsky Palace.
In the summit room, diplomats said the two men were seated well aware from each other and did not speak to one another directly during opening talks about the world economy.
The awkward initial encounter came after some other leaders arriving in St Petersburg pointedly sided with Russia in its opposition to US-led military action.
Intervention would damage the global economy by pushing up oil prices, China said. Syria is not a significant oil exporter, but the prospect of conflict in the Middle East often pushes up oil prices.
"Military action would have a negative impact on the global economy, especially on the oil price - it will cause a hike in the oil price," said Zhu Guangyao, the Chinese Vice Finance Minister.
Brazil, India and South Africa also worry that intervention would do economic harm, according to Mr Putin's officials.
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Russian president, said the leaders of the large emerging economies spoke before the St Petersburg summit and agreed that Syrian intervention would have an "extremely negative effect" on the global economy."
Herman van Rompuy, the EU president, arrived at the summit with a warning against military action.
The growing signs of opposition left Mr Obama with few effective allies in St Petersburg.
A "conscience vote": That's the congressional euphemism for an issue on whichpartisan loyalties are so scrambled that lawmakers must make up their own minds. Both Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner have used the term to describe the authorization of military force in Syria, meaning they won't be "whipping," or pressuring members to vote a certain way.
But one Democratic congressman will be whipping -- against the resolution. Alan Grayson, the Florida liberal and civil-libertarian, has been rallying opposition to the use of force both among his colleagues and among the public. He believes the momentum is on his side and the authorization is doomed to fail in the House.
I interviewed Grayson about his effort and his view of the issue Tuesday. This is an edited transcript of our conversation.
You started an online petition against intervention in Syria. Do you think it's gaining traction?
Yes, we've gotten 25,000 signatures in just a couple of days. It's a sign not only that the public is against attacking Syria, but also that they're willing to do something about it. [Ed. note: As of Wednesday afternoon, it was nearly 35,000.] We're seeing not only a lot of opposition in terms of numbers, but also a great deal of intensity. It's an unusual thing to post a petition online, not do anything to promote it, and see almost instantly 25,000 people sign up. We're going to put that to good use. We're going to have people calling their congressman and sending emails. In the case of congressmen who are on the fence, they'll hear from huge numbers of their constituents who want them to vote "no," and it's going to have a dramatic impact.
You also say you're going to whip your colleagues. Has that effort started?
We have started it. The first thing we have done is very carefully keeping track of what our what colleagues actually say about this. A very substantial number of Democrats and Republicans have come out against attacking Syria, and we have begun the process of informing our Democratic colleagues about what their other colleagues are saying. We're circulating a letter that quotes a dozen other Democrats in Congress, as well as me, who have stated their reasons against an attack. That's the first step in what will be a very sophisticated process of persuading our open-minded colleagues on both sides of aisle.
You're counting leaners as "no" votes? The Post has a smallish category for "opposed," but a large category in both houses that's leaning in that direction.
That in itself is very revealing, isn't it? There's no "leaning yes" category. When you actually look at the comments being made by those who are characterized as "leaning no," I think they're leaning pretty heavily. If anything, the sentiment when members talk to each other is far more negative than the public [statements] reflect. Particularly among Republicans -- the Republicans are hearing overwhelmingly from their own districts that this has nothing to do with us. We're talking about ordinary voters and activists both, they’re vehemently against this. If anything, what you're seeing in public is an understatement of the actual sentiment among House members.
We all come to this with an open mind -- I did, at least. But people heard the arguments, and now they're starting to hear from their constituents. Believe me, it's not going well for the pro-war point of view.
The individual in the clip, Nadeem Baloosh, is a member of an insurgent group called Riyadh Al Abdeen, which is active in the Latakia area of Syria.
Baloosh speaks of “chemicals which produce lethal and deadly gases that I possess,” before going on to state, “We decided to harm them through their women and kids.”
Baloosh ponders if it is acceptable to harm women and children before quoting the Koran, “Fight them as they fight you. ” He goes on to quote Osama Bin Laden (whom other rebel groups have openly praised).
“We’ll kill their women and children like Sheikh Osama Bin Laden said – “until they cease killing our women and kids,” he states.
Baloosh goes on to talk about the Syrian Army approaching the area where his rebel group was located, before stating, “So we had the idea that this weapon was very powerful and effective to repel them, we announced if they approached one meter, everything is permitted.”
“We will strike them in their homes, we will turn their day into night and their night into day,” adds Baloosh.
The footage adds to the increasing weight of evidence that suggests US-backed rebels possess and have used chemical weapons on more than one occasion, although such reports have been habitually downplayed by the mainstream media.
Earlier today Russia announced that it had compiled a 100 page report proving opposition rebels “were behind a deadly sarin gas attack in an Aleppo suburb earlier this year.”
Carla Del Ponte, the leading member of the UN inquiry into the attack, which happened in March, told Swiss TV that there existed “strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof” that rebels were responsible for the atrocity.
Fighting raged through the picturesque mountain village of Maaloula, near Damascus, on Thursday, as the regime launched a counter-attack against the rebels.
"They entered the main square and smashed a statue of the Virgin Mary," said one resident of the area, speaking by phone and too frightened to give his name. "They shelled us from the nearby mountain. Two shells hit the St Thecla convent."
Maaloula, tucked into the honey-coloured cliffs of a mountain range north of Damascus and on a "tentative" list of applicants for Unesco world heritage status, is associated with the earliest days of Christianity.
St Thecla, who is supposedly buried in the convent, was a follower of St Paul who fled to the village in Syria to avoid marriage, having taken an oath of chastity. It is said that the cleft of rock in which the convent is placed opened up to allow her to escape her pursuers.
The inhabitants are mostly Melkite Greek Catholic and Orthodox Christians, but have historically lived peacefully alongside a Sunni Muslim minority. It is one of only three places in the world where Western Aramaic, a dialect of the language spoken by Christ, is still used.
The Syrian rebels posed casually, standing over their prisoners with firearms pointed down at the shirtless and terrified men.
The prisoners, seven in all, were captured Syrian soldiers. Five were trussed, their backs marked with red welts. They kept their faces pressed to the dirt as the rebels’ commander recited a bitter revolutionary verse.
The moment the poem ended, the commander, known as “the Uncle,” fired a bullet into the back of the first prisoner’s head. His gunmen followed suit, promptly killing all the men at their feet.
This scene, documented in a video smuggled out of Syria a few days ago by a former rebel who grew disgusted by the killings, offers a dark insight into how many rebels have adopted some of the same brutal and ruthless tactics as the regime they are trying to overthrow.
As the United States debates whether to support the Obama administration’s proposal that Syrian forces should be attacked for using chemical weapons against civilians, this video, shot in the spring of 2012, joins a growing body of evidence of an increasingly criminal environment populated by gangs of highwaymen, kidnappers and killers.
Across much of Syria, where rebels with Western support live and fight, areas outside of government influence have evolved into a complex guerrilla and criminal landscape.Much of the concern among American officials has focused on two groups that acknowledge ties to Al Qaeda. These groups — the Nusra Front and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria — have attracted foreign jihadis, used terrorist tactics and vowed to create a society in Syria ruled by their severe interpretation of Islamic law.
That has raised the prospect that American military action could inadvertently strengthen Islamic extremists and criminals.