American airstrikes on Syria are “expected within days,” said an unnamed, senior U.S. official. Currently, inspectors from the United Nations are still investigating Syria’s use of chemical weapons during an attack outside of Damascus. Despite UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s push for the “international community to refrain from taking action,” the U.S. seems to be leaning that way.
Although President Obama hasn’t made any kind of official decision on whether he will order a strike, he continues to offer justification for the prospected strike. “If we are saying in a clear and decisive but very limited way, we send a shot across the bow saying, ‘Stop doing this,’ this can have a positive impact on our national security over the long term,” said the president.
But the very fact that Obama is intently considering an American strike without planning a presentation of the prospect to Congress has politicians on both sides criticizing the president. Leaders of the U.S. congressional intelligence committee said that “the Obama administration has not properly consulted them” in regards to “final deliberations for possible military action in Syria.”
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein notes that the committee has been allowed only “very brief status updates.” Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner requested in a letter to Obama “‘to clearly articulate’ to the public and Congress his objectives, policy and strategy for Syria.”
Boehner further writes in the letter that he “conferred with the chairmen of the national security committees who have received initial outreach from senior Administration officials, and . . . the outreach has, to date, not reached the level of substantive consultation.”
In order to further justify a strike on Syria, Secretary of State John Kerry said that there was “undeniable” evidence that Syria made use of chemical weapons. However, U.S. intelligence officials said that there was “no smoking gun” that links President Assad to the chemical attacks in Syria on Aug. 21.
Republicans, who would have more than likely supported the Iraq war when Bush was in office, have taken sides against Obama on American military action. One-hundred and sixteen Congressmen, consisting of 98 Republicans and 18 Democrats, dispatched a letter to Obama that reads “Engaging our military in Syria when no direct threat to the United States and without prior Congressional authorization would violate the separation of powers that is clearly delineated in the Constitution.”
In public opinion, party lines seem to play little as a factor in the people’s approval of striking in Syria. A HuffPost/YouGov poll found that only 25 percent of all Americans surveyed supported military action.