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Times-Journal: Aderholt Presses Obama for Answers

September 4, 2013
In The News


Aderholt presses Obama for answers

David Clemons | Posted: Thursday, August 29, 2013 3:57 pm

DeKalb County’s congressman said he’s not yet convinced the U.S. should be drawn into a conflict with Syria.

Rep. Robert Aderholt called on President Barack Obama to consult Congress before engaging in another Middle East conflict, while at the same time slamming the president for not taking action.

“The Obama administration’s recent lack of decisive action in the Middle East has left many in the international community without a lot of confidence in U.S. foreign policy,” Aderholt, R-Haleyville, said in a statement Thursday to the Times-Journal.

Exasperated members of the House and Senate said the president has failed to make a case for U.S. military action against Syria despite the administration’s conclusion that the Syrian government carried out a large-scale chemical weapons attack against civilians last week.

An exception was Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who said Thursday that Obama should take some form of action to send a message to Syrian President Bashar Assad and his regime.

The administration was planning a teleconference briefing Thursday night on Syria for leaders of the House and Senate and national security committees, U.S. officials and congressional aides said.

The administration signaled Wednesday it would act against the Syrian government even without the backing of allies or the United Nations in response to the alleged chemical weapons attack outside the Syrian capital of Damascus on Aug. 21.

Some lawmakers insisted Obama, despite his standing as commander in chief, cannot unilaterally order military action against Syria without congressional authorization.

Aderholt said it’s clear to him the world is “looking for leadership” but said it’s less certain the U.S. needs to be involved militarily.

“Leadership does not necessarily mean ‘boots on the ground;’ instead, it may be a well-thought-out plan that engages the international community on behalf of people who cannot defend themselves,” the ninth-term congressman said.

“Either way, leadership and consultation with Congress are what is needed and, unfortunately, we are not seeing that from the administration at this time.”

In a letter to the president, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, raised 14 questions that he asked Obama to answer, including what the administration would do if Syria retaliates against U.S. allies in the region, whether the administration would launch additional military strikes if the initial ones proved ineffective and how any operation would be paid for.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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