A key Republican supporter of U.S. action in Syria said he was “disappointed” by President Obama’s speech, adding it didn’t stress the “peace through strength” mantra necessary for the situation.
“He had a little bit of campaign rhetoric, a little bit of ‘I’m really reluctant to do this. Oh, by the way, chemical weapons really bad.’ He did well there,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said this morning on Fox.
“I was really disappointed. He needed to be that steely resolved commander in chief. We haven’t really seen him as that role of commander in chief. He needed — he needed to do talk about not pin pricks or was the attack going to be bigger than a bread box.”
Rogers added that the “whole conversation confounded me.”
“This is a surgical strike to degrade their capability to deliver chemical weapons. I don’t know why we are even arguing about that, nor should we be talking being what ship, what missile. We shouldn’t talk about any of those kind of things,” he continued. “And why that’s important is he needed to set the table to say that, listen, peace through strength. If you don’t negotiate this right, if we don’t get a negotiated settlement, something really bad is going to happen.”
“That’s how you get to good diplomatic solutions. And all of that, to me, was lost in what I thought was even a bit more confusing of a speech. I was really disappointed in that. And I think our national security interests are at stake.”
The timing of the speech given this week’s developments also confused many members of Congress, with Rogers noting “it was odd to have the speech to spend so much time about talking about why he’s asking Congress not to vote.”
“I didn’t understand any of that. My argument was he should have come out, acted as commander in chief and said, ‘Listen, we have a moral obligation to act on chemical weapons. We have three different conventions on chemical weapons where the world says you can’t allow this to happen because they are so godawful.’ That’s important. ‘Oh, by the way, we have the capability to do surgical strikes to degrade their ability to deliver chemical weapons.’ All of that’s in our interest and the world’s interest. And remember, this is a dangerous neighborhood. Iran is spending a lot of time there, and this is the same country, Iran, that tried to blow up a restaurant in Washington, D.C.”
“He really didn’t bring in all of the other global issues that are happening in Syria,” the chairman added.
“And al-Qaeda, by the way, 12 years after 9/11, is pooling up in the eastern part of Syria, and they don’t have one or two. They have thousands of people, jihadists, gathering up. And they’re talking about trying to hold that ground for a safe haven in the future. Why the president didn’t lay the case, ‘Listen, this is in our interest to get ahead of this.’”