Friday, September 6, 2013

What Will Congress Do on Syria?

This week, we've been talking plenty about the crisis in Syria. President Obama wants a limited military strike to prevent Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from instituting any sort of mass genocide and/or causing any more problems for American allies in the Middle East (like Israel and Turkey). But with growing skepticism at home, the President will have to deliver a nationally televised address on Tuesday to try to convince a war weary public and jittery Congress to go ahead and authorize the strike.

So will it work? At this point, no one knows for sure. Even AIPAC whipping in favor of Syria military intervention hasn't seemed to move many Members of Congress in their direction. And typically, very few on Capitol Hill have been willing to endure the "anti-Israel" and "weak on defense" lines of attack that AIPAC and other hawkish outfits wield at those who don't adhere to their foreign policy goals.

According to the latest whip count, Rep. Joe Heck (R-Henderson) has moved to a definite Nay while Reps. Mark Amodei (R-Carson City, and finally announced something), Steven Horsford (D-North Las Vegas), and Dina Titus (D-Paradise) remain undecided. We're now hearing conflicting reports on Senator Dean Heller(R), since one lists him as a likely Nay while others still count him as undecided. Only Senator Harry Reid (D) so far is a firm Yea.

There's a real possibility Congress won't authorize any use of military force in Syria. Perhaps that’s why Secretary of State John Kerry sat down for an interview with MSNBC's Chris Hayes to make the Administration's case for military action.

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Clearly, he and the President are worried about the consequences of not striking. However, most Americans are now more worried about the consequences of striking. They just don't want to see more US troops dying in yet another mistaken war.

This weekend, I'll explain my own take on Syria. For now, I'll just say I can see the logic in Chris Hayes' and Joan Walsh's respective arguments. This is a messy situation that may not even get cleaned up with US military action.

So what can we do? And what should we do? Again, I'll get into more detail on that this weekend. And in the mean time, I'll update this space if we hear more breaking news on Syria.

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