Login for full access to ABQJournal.com



New Users: Subscribe here


Close

Obama trying to persuade skeptics of his plan for Syria

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., left, accompanied by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks to reporters outside the White House following a meeting with President Barack Obama on Monday. (Evan Vucci/The Associated Press)
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., left, accompanied by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks to reporters outside the White House following a meeting with President Barack Obama on Monday. (Evan Vucci/The Associated Press)
........................................................................................................................................................................................

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama worked on Monday to persuade skeptical lawmakers to endorse a U.S. military intervention in civil war-wracked Syria, winning conditional support from two leading Senate foreign policy hawks even as he encountered resistance from members of his own party after two days of a determined push to sell the plan.

Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said Obama still needs to make a strong case for attacking the regime of President Bashar Assad, but they toned down past criticism that the president’s plan was too weak to change the course of the fighting in Syria in favor of the opposition.

“We have to make it clear that a vote against this would be catastrophic in its consequences,” now and in future international crises, McCain told reporters outside the White House following an hour-long private meeting that he and Graham had with Obama.

But the outcome of any vote remained in doubt amid continued skepticism in a war-weary Congress. Several Democrats in a conference call with administration officials pushed back against military action, questioning both the intelligence about a chemical attack last month outside Damascus and the value of an intervention to United States interests, according to aides on the call. Others demanded narrower authorization than that requested by the administration.

“The White House has put forward a proposed bill authorizing the use of force that, as drafted, is far too broad and open ended, and could be used to justify everything from a limited cruise missile strike to a no fly zone and the introduction of American ground troops,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., a member of the House intelligence committee.

In a post on his website, Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan of Minnesota reflected a view shared by others: “I want you to know that I am vehemently opposed to a military strike that would clearly be an act of war against Syria, especially under such tragic yet confusing circumstances as to who is responsible for the use of chemical weapons.”

After changing course and deciding to seek congressional approval for military action, Obama is confronted with one of his most difficult foreign policy tests and faces a Congress divided over an unavoidably tough vote-of-conscience on overseas conflict.

Comments

Note: Readers can use their Facebook identity for online comments or can use Hotmail, Yahoo or AOL accounts via the "Comment using" pulldown menu. You may send a news tip or an anonymous comment directly to the reporter, click here.

Top
Read previous post:
Luis Calzadillas, left, talks to teacher Wendell Lane as he works on designing a building model. The model is an assignment at ACE Leadership charter high school, which is piloting a plan to evaluate students based on the skills they demonstrate through projects, not their standardized test scores. (marla brose/journal)
Finding a new way to measure learning

Performance-based assessment can test range of abilities

Close