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Anti-war Democrats speak up on Syria
politico.com ^ | August 28, 2013 | REID J. EPSTEIN and SEUNG MIN KIM

Posted on 08/28/2013 2:20:58 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe

Anti-war Democrats in Congress are getting the band back together.

Democrats who made their names opposing the Iraq war are not staying silent as a president of their own party prepares to attack Syria.

But they’re not exactly demanding that President Barack Obama stand down from launching airstrikes in the country. Like many Republican lawmakers, they want Congress to authorize any military action there, and are urging the administration to allow a healthy debate on the proper U.S. role — if any — in the dangerous country. But their criticism, at this point, falls short of total condemnation.

The anti-war Democrats are just organizing and starting to gain steam. Many of them admitted they’re likely to gather more force after a potential attack occurs instead of before it.

“There is ferment out there — you just haven’t seen it yet,” said Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.). “If they fire rockets in there, you’ll see a lot of people saying this is an absolute mistake, they should not have done it, I do not support it. The storm will follow if [Obama] goes without having the backing of the Congress.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) on Wednesday circulated a letter among liberal Democrats — 12 have signed on so far — that asked Obama to “seek an affirmative decision of Congress prior to committing any U.S. military engagement to this complex crisis.”

“Let’s be clear that the letter is calling for a specific action: debate,” said Lee, a former co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus said. “Congress must assert our authority on this issue; that’s a bipartisan cause.”

Aside from Lee’s letter, there has been little coordination among anti-war Democrats who oppose the Syrian action. Part of their caution could be a desire to wait out the consequences of a U.S. attack, and see how successfully it’s carried out before condemning it.

“Most members of Congress of both parties would prefer to sit it out,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.). “If the president does well, they can say, ‘Gee we were there with him.’ If the president doesn’t do well, they can say, ‘We were against it.’”

Congressional Democrats were “incredibly critical of the Bush administration and the run-up to Iraq,” said Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minn.). “I think there is a high bar to be passed here and I think there needs to be a strong voice.”

Democrats, he said, have been too meek in challenging Obama on the merits of his case for attacking Syria after allegations that President Bashar Assad used chemical weapons against citizens.

“I wish folks would be a little more vocal in asking for this,” he said. “We have to challenge the administration. If we’re being true to who we are, it is about the constitutional responsibility of the House and it should not matter who is the occupant of the White House.”

Right now, the loudest voices condemning possible airstrikes have come from Republicans like Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.) on Tuesday has collected more than 110 signatures from Democrats and Republicans for a letter urging Obama to seek congressional authorization before attacking Syria.

“The war in Syria has no clear national security connection to the United States and victory by either side will not necessarily bring into power people friendly to the United States,” Paul said Wednesday.

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) said he hasn’t consulted with colleagues about how best to oppose attacks in Syria.

“It’s a fact that its difficult sometimes to criticize a president who belongs to your party,” Grayson said. “That certainly is true and my feeling is that I never swore allegiance to the president, I swore to uphold the Constitution.”

Grayson, who said responding to Syrian atrocities is not in the U.S. national interest, said it’s likely that congressional Democrats will become more vocal about the Syria attacks after they take place. Having a strong opinion about it now, he said, would require more research than most of his colleagues are able to do over the August recess.

“Members of Congress typically don’t take the time to examine the evidence independently,” Grayson said. “It’s probably asking a little bit too much to ask every member of Congress to examine all of the information.”

Instead what’s happened is anti-war Democrats are demanding Obama seek their authorization.

“Calling for the Congress to meet and to act doesn’t presuppose what the conclusion will be,” said Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.). “Put me down as a skeptic, but in fairness, I would listen and give the kind of thorough consideration that such a question deserves.”

Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) said Obama’s White House is “getting ready to overstep its authority right now” and said Congress has “ceded way too much authority to presidents.”

He said his experience in lobbying against intervention in Libya two years ago showed the congressional anti-war movement is alive and well.

“I was very impressed with the discussion on Libya a couple years ago when there was strong bipartisan sentiment not to get involved,” Schrader said.

And Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) said a U.S. response is “appropriate” but only with congressional approval.

“Congressional involvement not only will add credibility to our actions in the international community, it will send a stronger message to the Syrian regime that America stands united against its despicable acts,” Braley said.

Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), who voted against funding the Afghanistan war in 2009, declined to say whether it is appropriate for Obama to attack Syria. Congress, he said, will have the last word when it comes to paying for the operation.

“This proposal is very new to us and I would hope that members of Congress would take the time to hear the case and the president and hear the other side before offering poorly informed opinions,” Polis said. “I would hope that we will all have a classified briefing on this either in an emergency briefing or upon our return to Washington.”

To veterans of congressional battles over the Iraq war during the Bush years, that kind of talk doesn’t go nearly far enough.

“I’m disappointed in the Democratic leadership for not raising more questions,” said former Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio). “We have to stop putting party above country here and it’s obvious that partisan concerns are trumping the national interest.”

Waiting until after airstrikes start, Kucinich said, will be far too late.

“Members of Congress need to be heard from now,” he said. “Having been in the position that members find themselves, I think there’s a certain number of members who are not really believing that this is going to happen. You have that and you also have a lot of new members who are not really sure how to respond.”

And former Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.), who once gave her State of the Union ticket to anti-Iraq war activist Cindy Sheehan, said the cautious nature of her former colleagues leads them to go along with whatever information they receive from the White House, especially when they share a party with the president.

“They have to be so careful,” she said. “Look how few of us spoke out knowing that Iraq was a big lie.”


TOPICS: Government
KEYWORDS: alangrayson; barbaralee; democraps; jimmcdermott; paleocon; syria

1 posted on 08/28/2013 2:20:58 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
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To: Tailgunner Joe

Obama jumps at the shot of dubious propaganda from Syria and the machinations of Prince Bandar. It will take a good spanking from Democrats to reign him in. More power to them, they are Americans also.


2 posted on 08/28/2013 2:23:34 PM PDT by CMB_polarization
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To: Tailgunner Joe
The anti-war Democrats are just organizing and starting to gain steam. Many of them admitted they’re likely to gather more force after a potential attack occurs instead of before it.

Didn't stop them from their Million Moron Marches when it was EEVIL BOOOSH!

3 posted on 08/28/2013 2:28:36 PM PDT by Old Sarge (Opinions are like orgasms: only mine count, and I couldn't care less if you have one...)
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To: Tailgunner Joe

There is no anti-war movement.

There was only an anti-republican movement.

Who many DC anti-war protests did we have from 2008 - 2012???????

Pathetic.


4 posted on 08/28/2013 2:29:06 PM PDT by Noamie
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To: CMB_polarization
Don't be fooled, this is for show to their leftwing base.

Everyone of them will back Obama when push comes to shove.

So, their voting records prove they aren't 'Americans also', they are traitors.

5 posted on 08/28/2013 2:29:24 PM PDT by fortheDeclaration (Pr 14:34 Righteousness exalteth a nation:but sin is a reproach to any people)
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To: Tailgunner Joe

“Why Liberals Kill”
President Obama to exit Afghanistan. But their heroes—from FDR to JFK—promoted U.S. involvement in more wars than all modern GOP presidents combined.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2009/10/17/why-liberals-kill.html

Welcome to the party,Dems.Bring McCain and Graham with you.


6 posted on 08/28/2013 2:29:53 PM PDT by TurboZamboni (Marx smelled bad & lived with his parents most his life.)
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To: Noamie

“Anti-War” - Believing that your country is fighting for the wrong side.


7 posted on 08/28/2013 2:30:42 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: Tailgunner Joe
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio). “We have to stop putting party above country here and it’s obvious that partisan concerns are trumping the national interest.”

Kucinich as citizen far trumps the hack politician he once was previously.

8 posted on 08/28/2013 2:30:55 PM PDT by tflabo (Truth or Tyranny)
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To: Tailgunner Joe
The storm will follow if [Obama] goes without having the backing of the Congress.”

Oh, like it was when there was, oh say, LIBYA!?

9 posted on 08/28/2013 2:32:19 PM PDT by Old Sarge (Opinions are like orgasms: only mine count, and I couldn't care less if you have one...)
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To: Tailgunner Joe

Well done, Kucinich, an honest liberal.


10 posted on 08/28/2013 2:32:43 PM PDT by Romulus
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To: Tailgunner Joe
Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) said he hasn’t consulted with colleagues about how best to oppose attacks in Syria.

I want to do just the opposite of anything this flaming moron wants to do.

11 posted on 08/28/2013 2:34:28 PM PDT by immadashell (The inmates are running the asylum.)
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To: Tailgunner Joe
Did I just read this right? They'll object to deciding to bomb Syria without debate in congress after the bombing occurs?

The dems are as pathetic as the 'pubs. Maybe Kucinich can embarrass them into manning up.

12 posted on 08/28/2013 2:36:49 PM PDT by grania
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To: Tailgunner Joe

What I don’t get in reading history is Pol Pot was murdering millions of citizens of Cambodia while Jimmy Carter was president. Why didn’t Carter say or do something through the UN or whatever? Now Obama wants to unilaterally go into Syria with a few bombs? To accomplish what exactly? To knock out some powdered milk plants??


13 posted on 08/28/2013 2:37:44 PM PDT by SkyDancer (A white woman would be accused of racism if she gave birth to a white baby.)
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To: CMB_polarization
You are wearing your finest tuxedo and walking to a friend's wedding. On the way, you see a rabid pit bull and a mangy wolf begin to fight.

Do you jump in to help, and which wretched beast do you help?
When you are done, the victor will eat your children.

Idiots are in charge.

Obama intervenes in Syria

14 posted on 08/28/2013 2:44:55 PM PDT by Bon mots
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To: immadashell

“Members of Congress typically don’t take the time to examine the evidence independently,” Grayson said. “It’s probably asking a little bit too much to ask every member of Congress to examine all of the information.”

Is it really too much senator? Really?
When the lives of Americans are at stake I don’t
think it’s too much to ask at all.

I wonder if he’d think it was too much, if in the event
of failure and WAR, the senate and congress were arrested
and put on trial for neglect of duty.


15 posted on 08/28/2013 2:45:00 PM PDT by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: Tailgunner Joe

That bunch of slithering snakes that are generically designated as “liberal Democrats” still do not have the moral fortitude to stand up RIGHT NOW and denounce, in no uncertain terms, the fallacy of entering a fight on somebody else’s real estate,

The US has NO compelling national interest here. In fact, to go sticking our oar in here is to gravely endanger a long-time and steadfast ally, Israel, though that may be part of the subtext of the agenda that the Current Occupant of the White Hut is trying to push through.

When Saddam Hussein was limiting his warfare (poison gas and all) to border conflicts with the Iranian Islamic Republic, and to their clandestine supporters within Iraq, it was not the province of the US interests to stop that fight, not that we could have been in the least effective.

Likewise, when Islamic jihadists are shooting up other Islamic jihadists, our interest ought be limited only to containing any collateral damage OUTSIDE the combat zone.

Like in Kosovo and Serbia, had the US not intervened, the Balkan states and the European states most directly affected would have sorted the dispute themselves, and not had the US to blame for the greater grief that was visited upon them by strikes from a distance upon their real estate. A bombing run at 30,000 feet cannot distinguish between friendlies (if there ever were any in that region) and the despised foes, who, as it turned out, were pretty largely the Islamic partisans.

Likewise, strafing a war zone with missiles fired from offshore out in the Mediterranean is as likely to cause approximately equal damage to all parties on the ground, combatants and non-combatants alike, with no discernible benefit other than to break things and kill people.

Stand down, hands off, concentrate on keeping commerce flowing through the Suez Canal and into surrounding ports.

But of course, the Current Regime now squatting in the White Hut is not well served by such a program. They have a bunch of phony scandals that have to be covered up, and the fog of war is an excellent camouflage.


16 posted on 08/28/2013 2:46:26 PM PDT by alloysteel (Unattended children will be given a Red Bull and a free Kazoo. Reminds me of Congress...)
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To: SkyDancer
To accomplish what exactly?

To save face. Obama said he wants the bombing of Syria to be “just muscular enough not to get mocked”.

It's ALL political to him. He's not doing this because he cares about the children who died by the chemical attack.

17 posted on 08/28/2013 2:47:04 PM PDT by tsowellfan
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To: grania

Yes..you read it right! They are a bunch of lazy cowards. They don’t want to take a vote until after the bombing starts because they believe it will give them political cover.

Loved this bit:

“Grayson, who said responding to Syrian atrocities is not in the U.S. national interest, said it’s likely that congressional Democrats will become more vocal about the Syria attacks after they take place. Having a strong opinion about it now, he said, would require more research than most of his colleagues are able to do over the August recess.

“Members of Congress typically don’t take the time to examine the evidence independently,” Grayson said. “It’s probably asking a little bit too much to ask every member of Congress to examine all of the information.”

Just too much to ask that they do their dang jobs!! Priceless quote there.
Pathetic more like it. Heck..I am just a citizen and have been spending night and day studying this situation...and don’t even get paid! LOL!!


18 posted on 08/28/2013 2:50:30 PM PDT by penelopesire (TIME FOR OBAMA TO ANSWER FOR BENGHAZI UNDER OATH!!)
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Where have all the usual suspects from the entertainment industry been while the BOzo Admin has been orchestrating the overthrow of gov’ts and giving aid/support to yahoos committing all sorts of atrocities? What a bunch of frauds.


19 posted on 08/28/2013 2:54:24 PM PDT by Hayride
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To: Hayride

What a bunch of mealy mouthed, equivocating cowards.


20 posted on 08/28/2013 2:59:34 PM PDT by Col Frank Slade
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To: Tailgunner Joe
“Most members of Congress of both parties would prefer to sit it out,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.). “If the president does well, they can say, ‘Gee we were there with him.’ If the president doesn’t do well, they can say, ‘We were against it.’”

That's why they call them "leaders", I suppose. Disgusting.

No blood for al Qaeda!

21 posted on 08/28/2013 3:01:03 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: Tailgunner Joe

Whatever they say now is mute, when push comes to shove, they will back obama, because for them the party is first, that is the way of the demoncrat!


22 posted on 08/28/2013 3:34:55 PM PDT by PoloSec ( Believe the Gospel: how that Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again)
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To: Tailgunner Joe
Right now, the loudest voices condemning possible airstrikes have come from Republicans like Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.) on Tuesday has collected more than 110 signatures from Democrats and Republicans for a letter urging Obama to seek congressional authorization before attacking Syria.

Where's Boehner ?

23 posted on 08/28/2013 3:47:41 PM PDT by TurboZamboni (Marx smelled bad & lived with his parents most his life.)
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To: CMB_polarization
It will take a good spanking from Democrats to reign him in. More power to them, they are Americans also.

Since when? Those leftwing nutbag goofball sons-of-bitches have been crapping on everything American for decades.
24 posted on 08/28/2013 3:50:35 PM PDT by fr_freak
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To: TurboZamboni
Where's Boehner ?

Probably strategizing with the GOP on how to primary and oust those pesky Tea Party reps who are the boehner of his existence.

25 posted on 08/28/2013 3:51:31 PM PDT by kevao (Biblical Jesus: Give your money to the poor. Socialist Jesus: Give your neighbor's money to the poor)
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To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; cardinal4; ColdOne; ...

Known Paleo-Cons Jim McDermott, Barbara Lee, Peter DeFazio, Tim Walz, Alan Grayson, Zoe Lofgren, Kurt Schrader, Bruce Braley, Jared Polis, Lynn Woolsey, and Dennis Kucinich, thanks Tailgunner Joe.


26 posted on 08/30/2013 7:24:40 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (It's no coincidence that some "conservatives" echo the hard left.)
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