WASHINGTON (KMOX) – After a week and a half of silence U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, R-Mo., says he is opposed to President Barack Obama’s request for military action against Syria, questioning whether the administration has realistic policy goals for the Mideast nation.
“It is clear that the Administration’s policies toward Syria have not worked,” Blunt said in a statement Monday.
“During the first months of the insurgency, I believed that we could and should assist in establishing a safe zone for refugees and those challenging Assad. This is a position I publicly held as late as March of this year, but the longer these things are allowed to drag on in the Middle East, the harder they are to impact in a positive way.”
Blunt says he respects President Obama and his decision to ask congress to endorse a ‘shot across the bow’. But he fears Obama’s strategy of limited military action and the unknown response it may cause are wrong.
“I’m not convinced that the President’s strategy lines up with the policy goals our country should have, or that the Administration currently has realistic policy goals in Syria.”
Blunt had issued tough statements on Syria when Obama announced that he would seek congressional approval, saying it would have been the right course of action months ago.
The senator said he participated in a number of briefings on the issue, but could not support the resolution to give Obama the authority to use military force. “I will not support the resolution the President has asked for.”
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Congressman William Lacy Clay, Jr., D-Mo., has not issued an official statement on the matter but said on Facebook Monday that he has “consistently opposed the use of military force unless our essential national security interests were at risk.”
However, he said he has not made a final decision, because he is awaiting more information.
“I have not made a final decision because I wish to further examine the evidence (including classified findings) and I also want the full congressional debate to go forward.”
A spokesperson for U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., issued a no comment as of Monday.
In a statement McCaskill said, “It’s the right course of action for the President to seek Congressional approval for a strike against Syria. A dictator’s illegal and brutal murder of innocent civilians with chemical weapons has clear implications for our national security, and for the safety of our allies, but we must avoid becoming entangled in another long, costly military campaign.”
Her spokesperson said Claire is continuing to review the intelligence and consult with Armed Services Committee colleagues, and hasn’t yet reached a decision on how she’ll vote on the authorization.