According to The Courant, (9/3/13), a delegation of Democrat Members of Congress from Connecticut wants to know President Obama’s precise objectives and exit strategies before voting to approve air-strikes on Syria in retaliation for President Assad’s chemical weapons attack on his own people that resulted in the deaths of over 1,000 people, including children. Representative John Larson (D,Conn) stated that in addition to wanting to know Obama’s goals and exit strategy, he also wanted to know why the President feels that “this is an imminent threat.”
Other Democrat members of Congress from Connecticut who expressed concerns over Obama’s plans to commit air strikes onto Syria included Jim Himes, Joe Courtney and U.S. Senator Chris Murphy who stated that although he does have reservations about the air-strike plans, he nevertheless felt that Assad had “crossed a moral line” in using chemical weapons on his own people.
Himes stated that there was “an awful lot of… thinking and consulting” that he would need to do before he can come “even close to supporting a military strike.”
Courtney expressed reservations over the fact that there were no limits on the type of force that could be used in the attack.
The Connecticut Congressional delegation is not the only one questioning Obama’s proposed air-strikes of Syria. The Congressional delegation from the state of Washington also has entered the picture. According to McClatchy, (8/29/13), two members of that state’s Democrat delegation also are posing serious questions about the strikes. Rep. Adam Smith, D-Bellevue, is concerned that the air strikes could lead to a “broader direct involvement in the conflict.” And U.S. Senator Patty Murray, D-Wa, expressed outrage over the usage of chemical weapons by Assad, but expressed concerns that if we are not careful, we could end up “in a long, drawn-out conflict.”
This begs the question as to what will likely happen if Obama’s request for authorization of the air strikes is rejected by Congress. According to Jim Geraghty of The National Review Online, (8/30/13), Obama most likely will not be impeached if he does order the strikes in defiance of the Congressional vote. Geraghty cites precedent in past Presidencies, such as Grenada in 1983, Panama in 1989, Iraq in 1991, Haiti in 1994 and Kosovo in 1999. Geraghty also cited the 1973 War Powers Act which gives the President up to 60 days to attain a vote of approval from Congress after “the start of hostilities.”
And so one can predict the following with respect to the U.S. air-strikes against Syria:
1) The strikes will be seriously questioned if not outright opposed by many members of Congress and the Senate, including Democrat members.
2) Most likely Obama will not be impeached if he orders the air-strikes in defiance of the Congressional order.
3) It is not known at this point if we have a clear cut objective in going into the conflict or a definite exit strategy for getting out the conflict.
4) It is not known whether or not this will lead to a long, protracted conflict involving the United States in unilateral, military intervention.
5) The full extent of ramifications to the United States for taking such action, both short term and long term, are not known at this time.