September 2, 2014

Nebraska Senators: president fails to make case on Syria (AUDIO)

Nebraska’s United States Senators say a possible diplomatic solution to Syria came just in time for the Obama Administration which failed to rally support for a military strike.

Sen. Mike Johanns says Congress returned to Washington from its August break Monday, anxious to hear what the Obama Administration had to say about Syria.

“Unfortunately, what happened at that point is you had a number of people speaking for the administration and they were all saying confusing, different things,” Johanns tells Nebraska Radio Network in an interview.

President Barack Obama initially considered launching a military strike against Syria, sending cruise missiles against selected, military targets. The president argued the United States needed to response to reports that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s military used chemical weapons against the rebel forces in the country’s on-going civil war.

Obama backed away from an immediate attack and requested Congress authorize the use of force.

Then, the Russians stepped in.

Russia has proposed that military intervention be taken off the table if Syria agrees to disband its chemical weapons capability. The Obama Administration has withdrawn its request before Congress while it considers the proposal.

Johanns says the proposed diplomatic solution came just as the support that initially gathered around the administration began to falter.

“It just seemed to me whatever support was out there was just evaporating,” Johanns says.

Sen. Deb Fischer has called President Obama’s foreign policy “muddled”.

Fischer calls the president’s argument that the United States has a national security interest in stopping the Assad regime “very weak” and that the president’s speech on Syria was neither clear nor convincing.

Fischer says whatever action the United States takes against Syria must be part of a broader strategy to stabilize the Middle East.

Fischer had been withholding judgment about the president’s request to Congress, waiting to hear from Obama.

“At this point, the president has not made the case and I do not support military action,” Fischer tells reporters in a conference call.

AUDIO:  Brent Martin reports [:40]