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Posted by on Mar 21, 2011 in International | 0 comments

Poll: Ground Intervention in Libya Not Supported But No Fly Zone Is

A new CNN/Opinon Research Corporation poll finds support in the U.S. for a no fly zone over Libya but little for a ground intervention — a warning sign to President Barack Obama that there will be indeed limits on U.S. support for what already is a highly controversial decision:

Seven in ten Americans support military action by the U.S. and other countries to establish a no-fly zone in Libya, a 14-point increase since last week, according to a new national poll.

But a CNN/Opinon Research Corporation survey also indicates there is less among the public for air strikes that directly target Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s troops who are fighting opposition forces, and only one in four want to send ground forces into the conflict.

The poll was conducted Friday through Sunday, both before and after military action against Libya began on Saturday. But there is no indication in the data that opinions on Libya changed on Saturday or Sunday as a result of the air strikes.

According to the survey, 70 percent support the establishment of a no-fly zone by the U.S. and other countries, up from 56 percent a week ago. Twenty-seven percent oppose the move, down 13 points.

The poll indicates support drops to 54 percent for air strikes not directly related to the no-fly zone that instead target the troops fighting the rebels, with 43 percent opposed to that action.

And most Americans are on the same page as President Barack Obama in opposing putting U.S. ground forces into the conflict. Seven out of ten questioned oppose such a move, with just 28 percent in favor.

The survey indicates a bit of a partisan divide and gender gap over a no-fly zone and attacks on Gadhafi’s forces.

“Republicans are somewhat more likely to support the no-fly zone than Independents and Democrats and are significantly more likely to support air strikes unrelated to the no-fly zone,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “Men are also more willing to support military action than women – a common pattern in American public opinion.”

Obama has been blasted for his decision by Democrats such as Rep. Dennis Kucinich, filmmaker Michael Moore, independent Presidential candidate Ralph Nader and, increasingly by Republicans. Writes Andrew Sullivan:

Most of the GOP leadership is playing it mum or playing it vicious on the Libya madness. Surprise! Obama cannot win because his un-Bush style of intervention is so … liberal. Palin is the most vacuous, of course. Her criticism is entirely of style, not substance: there would be more “decisiveness” under a Queen Esther. What does that mean? If it were anyone serious, it might be worth inquiring….

But now, Obama will also feel the force of the neocons, having tasted a smidgen of blood. They will now push for regime change and claim it as vindication for their vision of a world dominated by virtuous American arms. And sure enough, across the the horizon, the sound of little feet running towards us.

Obama in Brazil said he wants Gaddafi to step down:
The newest development: divisions over who will lead the coalition:

Discord erupted Monday in Europe over whether the military operation in Libya should be controlled by NATO, after Turkey blocked the alliance’s participation while Italy issued a veiled threat to withdraw the use of its bases unless the alliance was put in charge.

Germany also questioned the wisdom of the operation, and Russia’s Vladimir Putin railed against the UN-backed airstrikes mounted so far against Moammar Gadhafi’s force by Britain, France and the United States outside of their NATO roles.

“The Security Council resolution is flawed, it allows everything and is reminiscent of a medieval call for a crusade,” Putin said. “In fact, it allows intervention in a sovereign state.”

A day after Turkey declined to support a military plan for the alliance to enforce a Libya no-fly zone, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he could support the NATO effort — but only if it does not turn into an occupation.

……The United States, France and Britain initiated attacks on Libya on Saturday, raining cruise missiles and precision bombs on Libyan military targets on the ground, including Gadhafi’s residential compound. Other countries have since joined in