If the U.S. Senate voted today on authorizing military involvement in Syria, Sen. Chuck Grassley probably would be a “no,” but expects he would be in the minority.
“There’s probably one word that says it better than anything else: dubious,” Grassley said Thursday to describe his thoughts about the prospect that U.S. military involvement in Syria would succeed.
Unless President Obama or someone else can convince him otherwise, Grassley doesn’t think military action serves the national security interest.
“Perhaps less in Iraq, but for sure in Afghanistan and Yemen, there are reasons for us to be concerned with what’s going on in other countries,” he said before taping a segment of “Newsleaders,” Mediacom’s news and public affairs show that will be broadcast on MC 22. “I’m not sure we have the same concern about this.
Grassley supported invading Iraq, but was one of two Republicans to vote against the Persian Gulf War in 1991.
Despite his doubts and the fact phone calls to his offices are running 50-to-one against military action, Grassley says he will “give (Obama) the courtesy of listening if the president wants to make his case beyond what he’s already said.”
He also wants to hear an “all-member” Senate briefing Sept. 11 before deciding which way to vote.
“If I can see that this is going to lead to the deposing of (Syrian leader Bashar) Assad – and quickly,” Grassley might support the resolution that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved 10-7.
“If there’s something here that if certain things are done it weakens his military or military leaders abandon Assad, that might make a difference,” he said. “But I don’t see any of that, any of that certainty that I need.”
He appreciates the president asking for congressional approval, but Grassley expects Obama will proceed with military action regardless of the outcome.
If it’s a matter of “national security,” he said, the president “has ample authority under the War Powers Act.”
Approval of the resolution is not as certain in the House, Grassley said.
“Not today, but in the end, if (Minority Leader Nancy) Pelosi gets deeply enough involved, it will pass,” he said. “She’ll have to bring a lot of Democrats along because there’s not a majority of Republicans who support it.”