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by
Bridget Johnson

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September 6, 2013 - 7:23 am

One of the Democratic senators who voted against President Obama’s Syria strike authorization at the Foreign Relations Committee this week said it was a “close call,” but his concerns outweighed the president’s wishes.

Sen. Chris Murphy, a freshman from Connecticut, told MSNBC, “I totally understand where the president is here.”

“It’s hard to watch what happened in Syria with 1,400 people being killed, 400 children being gassed, and stand by,” he said. “My concern is really two fold. One, I worry that a strike makes the situation on the ground worse in Syria, not better. It’s a chaotic situation to begin with, but if Assad responds with even more ferocious strikes against his own people or against our allies in the region, it’s hard to understand how that makes a situation better.”

“And second, I do think it’s difficult to untie the United States from the situation now that this resolution has passed. It not only authorizes the military strike, but it also commits us to a long-term lethal arming of the rebels,” Murphy continued.

“And I just don’t understand how this doesn’t turn into a long-term civil war, even after Assad falls. And I just don’t think the United States is pretty good at trying to pull the political strings within the Middle East, something that I think we should have learned over the last ten years. Certainly a close call, but in the end, I worry that this could actually degrade the situation on the ground and commit the United States to a engagement that could last a decade.”

The senator said part of the case that Obama made to lawmakers was that it wouldn’t escalate into a wide conflict, that “they are going to have checks in place to make sure that if Assad strikes neighbors that it isn’t going to bring the United States into a much broader conflict.”

“And I understand that he believes that,” Murphy added.

“I just think it’s hard to understand how that would occur if, for instance, Assad was to unleash another chemicals weapons attack, we’d have to respond. If he was to strike Israel, well, yes, maybe Israel has the stuff to be able to respond on its own, but the United States would clearly have to stand behind our allies.”

On the possibility that Obama could proceed with strikes without the approval of Congress, the senator said “there are many of us, frankly, who have had a problem with that.”

“The president also made a case to me that once this international norm has been crossed, who else but the United States can stand up today and try to step in and do something about it?” Murphy continued. “But, ultimately, the combination of those two things in the resolution, even if the president is doing it already on his own, just makes a little bit too big of an engagement for many people here.”

Bridget Johnson is a career journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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All Comments   (7)
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Frankly, I think the founding fathers would be thinking that our current government are retawds.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't like it when a politician uses the word "frankly". It makes me worried that he or she is about to break with their opposition to a policy they don't like.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
“The president also made a case to me that once this international norm has been crossed, who else but the United States can stand up today and try to step in and do something about it?” Murphy continued.

Yeah, and that's the result of providing umbrella security to almost all of Europe, thus allowing them to build little socialist Utopias instead of funding their military!

Maybe the French shouldn't have shot their wad in Mali, eh?
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
“It’s hard to watch what happened in Syria with 1,400 people being killed, 400 children being gassed, and stand by,” he said.

But it's ok to stand by and watch 100,000 Syrians killed with conventional weapons, many of them children? And it's ok to stand by and watch 30+ million babies being aborted in this country (many funded by the governent) since Roe v Wade? How about the ones born alive and left to die? That's ok? But when 400 children are killed by chemical weapons (not related to abortion using chemicals) we have tot do something?

The stupidity coming out of DC boggles the mind.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
The question remains Senator - do you have enough heartburn over Obama's possible actions to vote yes on articles of impeachment?

I'm guessing you don't. In which case Obama will continue to skirt the constitution and do whatever he damn well pleases.

46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
guess we are going to find out with this vote that a lot of democrats are racists that will be opposing B.O. only because he is black.


Now aint that a funny when the show is on the other foot.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
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