In separate statements Sens. Bernie Sanders and Al Franken called the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons on the Syrian people inhumane and an atrocity.
Sen. Sanders said, “The use of chemical weapons by the Assad dictatorship is inhumane and a violation of international law. However, at this point in time, I need to hear more from the president as to why he believes it is in the best interests of the United States to intervene in Syria’s bloody and complicated civil war. I look forward to the Senate debate that will be taking place in the very near future.”
Sen. Franken said, “There are no good options on Syria. But as I’ve said, the use of chemical weapons to kill over a thousand people and injure many more is a horrendous act, and there have to be consequences for that. Whatever action the United States takes, it has to be limited action. This can’t be an open-ended commitment, and it definitely should not lead to American boots on the ground. Congress now has an important role to play, and I look forward to participating in a vigorous debate about the use of force and the best interests of our country.”
Of the two senators, Franken seems much closer to supporting military action in Syria. Even among Americans who cherish peace and deplore military involvement the most, it is difficult to make the case that our nation should look the other way while innocent people are being attacked by their own government. (It is important to keep in mind that the West had done exactly that as it relates to Africa for decades.)
It is apparent that President Obama’s decision to request authorization from Congress is designed to ease some of the fears that this action could turn into another Iraq. Obama isn’t going to act on his own, and ignore the concerns of Congress and the American people. Whatever decision we arrive at we will come to as a country, and I feel much better about the decision making process knowing that the voices of Al Franken, Bernie Sanders, and other key liberals will be heard.