U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga) responded to President Barack Obama’s call for action in Syria on Saturday with rather a critical press release, but the Georgia senator will presumably support military involvement in the Middle Eastern country considering his previous calls for action.
“I believe the evidence is clear that the president’s red-line was crossed long ago, and the United States must respond,” said Chambliss. “However, while I appreciate the president seeking congressional approval, he should have already presented Congress with a strategy and objectives for military action, including what impact this will have on our allies and enemies alike in the region. Leadership is about reacting to a crisis, and quickly making the hard and tough decisions. The president should have demanded Congress return immediately and debate this most serious issue.”
President Obama announced his commitment to a military strike against the Bashar al-Assad regime, with congressional authorization, in a speech Saturday afternoon. Obama stopped short, however, of calling the lawmakers back to Washington before the five-week recess is up.
Chambliss, a vice-chairman of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, has been outspoken about the need to intervene in Syria for quite a while.
On June 13, Chambliss spoke with CNN about reports of use of chemical weapons in Syria, an action on the side of Assad that President Obama once called a “red line” when it came to U.S. involvement.
While the reports of the use of Sarin gas were extensive, the U.N. at the time was not able to verify it beyond doubt.
“When the President said that that was a red line, I wish that as soon as that [use of chemical weapons] have been validated, that he would have stepped up and said ‘the United States is not gonna stand by and see more innocent people in Syria get slaughtered,'” said Chambliss.
On July 18th, during Senate confirmation hearings, Chambliss emphasized the need to stop the “uncontrolled slaughter going on inside of Syria” amid the country’s civil war.
Chambliss said in July that the administration “has sat by and watched what’s happening over there” without any action.
The Assad regime has been accused of using Sarin nerve gas against its own civilians for several months now. The Obama Administration responded today to the most recent accusations, following an August 21 attack that resulted in almost 1500 casualties, including more than 400 children, according to reports obtained by the U.S. government.