At least two of Iowa’s representatives in the U.S. House are urging President Obama to consult Congress before moving forward with a military strike on Syria. Republican Tom Latham and Democrat Bruce Braley condemn the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government, wiping out hundreds of people, but they say Congress needs to discuss the appropriate U.S. response.
Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, who’s in Iowa for the August recess, is still on the fence with Syria. “I’m dubious about any move,” Grassley says. “I’m not close right now to the intelligence gathering and what has come out of that so I don’t claim to know as much about it as the president does.”
President Obama said Wednesday the U.S. has conclusive evidence Syria did carry out a poison gas attack last week, killing hundreds of innocent civilians, including women and children.
Grassley, a Republican, hasn’t decided if or how the U.S. should react. “I reserve judgment until the president makes a decision,” Grassley says. “I know some legal basis for the international community to get involved because of the violation of the 1925 treaty on banning chemical weapons.”
The president says he’s still considering possible military retaliation to send a strong message to the Syrian President Bashar Assad. In an interview on PBS last night, Obama said: “The Assad regime has been killing its own people by the tens of thousands.” Grassley says the lines of American allegiance are blurred in Syria.
“One of the reasons for being dubious is because the rebel opposition to Assad is divided between those backed by al Qaeda and those that are not al Qaeda-connected,” Grassley says. “We surely don’t want to be helping, in any way, al Qaeda.”
In a statement, Congressman Latham says: “If the president believes that action is necessary, then he should call on Congress to reconvene, debate and vote to authorize the use of force.”
Also, a statement from Congressman Braley says: “An American response to this grotesque act is appropriate. However, Congress should be a part of deciding the proper use of American force and ensuring that, before we take action, there is a plan for the aftermath of any military intervention. Congressional involvement…will add credibility to our actions in the international community