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Syria Congressional Hearings Tomorrow Upstaged by Leadership

A few days ago Yleem and I were at an airport concession stand. The cashier, from Jamaica, was watching a CNN news report on the Syria issue and told us: “I voted for him but he dead wrong on this issue. I hope the Republicans stop him. There is no fixing that part of the world unless you move in for a long time.” We smiled. A lot of Americans feel that way too.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee is supposed to hold a Syria hearing tomorrow to consider whether Congress should authorize the Obama Administration to undertake military strikes against Syria.  I’m wondering whether the hearing, and others like it, will be needed?

The President is, as Thomas Sowell says in his most recent piece, trying to “sucker Republicans into giving him political cover by pre-approving his unknown actions and unknown goals.” Yet it appears that House Republicans are lining up to support the Obama Administration even before the first gavel.

Consider the following:

Weekly Standard: House majority leader Eric Cantor says that he intends “to vote to provide the President of the United States the option to use military force in Syria.”

Then there is this statement at the White House by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio):

The President does not need any sort of Congressional approval to take undertake any sort of military maneuvers in Syria. This week is all about the politics. Right now, President Obama is winning.

Most Republicans that ultimately support the President’s efforts will cite some amorphous national security argument and try to politically hide behind “secret intelligence reports” that cannot be discussed in public.

In the end, unless we engage in regime change, boots on the ground, there is really no good outcome from a limited intervention. Why should the GOP give these folks any political cover whatsoever?

  • Arthur Freyre


    Do you think that part of the administration’s reasoning behind bombing Syria is to try to isolate Iran?

    Although they would not admit it on the record, it seems that is what they are trying to do. If you eliminate Syria from Iran’s sphere of influence, you then reduce Hezbollah’s ability to govern Lebanon. Once Hezbollah is out of the picture, you have isolated Iran.

    The problem it seems that the Administration (i.e. State Department) believes that they can deal with the other groups like the Muslim Brotherhood or have the Saudi’s control the Syrian rebels or other terrorist groups.


  • That would be something, to finally go after Iran. One could argue that could be the case, especially if you take in to account what the Bush Administration did as have other Presidents. Only President Obama and a few others know exactly what prompted the U.S. to finally weigh in on the Syria matter. This could be a new chapter in a longer war and, if we want to win it, it will require a commitment a whole lot more robust than the American people are willing to support at this time.

    The President already had statutory authority to engage in a limited strike in Syria (i.e., at least one resolution, as well as numerous laws that lay out that containing Syria is in the national security interests of the United States). He could have conducted operations, then consulted Congress for additional authorities. Rather, he went for prior consultation which tells us one of two things: (1) He wants political cover or (2) the operation may lead to prolonged engagement of the sort we may not be willing or able to politically stomach at this time.

    Politically and tactically, he has been poorly advised. Congressional Republicans have been no better. With this type of leadership we would have not been able to pull off the Normandy invasion during World War II.

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