Senator Harry Reid of Nevada announced Sept 5 that he would move forward with a Senate floor vote on a resolution to authorize a military strike against Syria. Thus far only 23 senators have voiced firmly that they will vote for the measure.
Things look even far bleaker in the US House of Representatives despite the support for a Syria strike by Speaker of the House John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor. The conservative elements of the House GOP Caucus along with a good number of House Democrats are vociferously opposed to action in Syria.
The Congressional Black Caucus was even told to tone down their public opposition to the measure. They and other Democrats have been unusually disobedient of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. The Democrat Party is normally in lock step on all measures proposed by one of their own party, particularly when it is the President who happens to be of their own party.
Democrats voted unanimously for Obamacare despite massive opposition from their constituents back home. Very many of these Democrat paid the price of losing their seats in Congress in the 2010 midterm elections.
Democrat opposition to the Syria resolution runs deeper than even with Republicans. Pres. Barack Obama campaigned for President in 2008 partly on a plank of ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and bringing American troops home. One Democrat Congressman even claims the Obama Administration has manipulated intelligence to make a case for war. A very similar accusation to that made against the Bush Administration over the decision to invade Iraq in 2003.
Another key 2008 political axe driven home by the Obama Campaign, Democrat Party and mainstream news media was that Obama would not be a president seeking to ‘nation-build’ or meddle in other nations affairs as Pres. George W. Bush was seen to have done in Iraq.
The apparent goals in Syria look entirely like Iraq all over again to rank and file Democrats and adding salt in the open wound is that the Syria crisis was generated by apparent use of chemical weapons, though it still is not entirely clear to most who actually used the weapons, the Assad regime or the rebels, a number of the latter being al-Qaeda cells.
For the rank and file members of the Senate and House GOP Caucuses, the primary heartburn with a Syria strike is that the Syrian rebels are overwhelmingly viewed as being largely al-Qaeda and/or other Islamist groups. Added to this is the simple mistrust of Pres. Obama as a Commander-in-Chief due to his ineptitude and possibly a cover up of events in Benghazi, Libya which led to an attack on the US Consulate and CIA Annex in that city.
One exchange in the House between Sec. of State John Kerry and Rep. Jeff Duncan during the initial House hearing Sept 5 centered on Benghazi and drew a bristling response from Mr. Kerry. It is thought by many that there was a gun running operation in Benghazi to funnel arms to Syrian rebels.
The key to the policy decisions of the Obama Administration on Syria is the terror army Hezbollah based in southern Lebanon and allied to Pres. Bashar al-Assad and Iran. Whether or not the Syrian rebels are Islamists is irrelevant to Pres. Obama; whose main concern in the Middle East is which nation or force can help him put the screws to Israel and force that nation back to the pre-1967 borders.
In Egypt, it was the Muslim Brotherhood and Pres. Mohamed Morsi Obama was counting on to revoke the Camp David Accords and re-militarize the Sinai. In Syria for the time being its Pres. Bashar al-Assad and his Hezbollah allies with their many thousands of rockets to put to the throat of Israel. That alone will dictate the Obama administration’s policy on Syria and nothing else. This exercise in floor debates on the Senate and House floor is nothing more than a stalling tactic to run out the clock on Obama’s false ‘Red Line’ promise.