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Boehner: Obama should explain how strike on Syria might help

Aug. 28, 2013 at 5:54 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, Aug. 28 (UPI) -- U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, Wednesday called on President Barack Obama to explain how a military strike on Syria "will secure U.S. objectives."

In a letter to the president, the speaker said he has supported Obama's policy since March 2011 of calling for an end to violence and a transition to democracy in Syria, calling for Syrian President Bashar Assad to resign and preventing "the use or transfer of chemical weapons."

"Our nation's response to the deterioration and atrocities in Syria has implications not just in Syria, but also for America's credibility across the globe, especially in places like Iran," Boehner wrote. "Even as the United States grapples with the alarming scale of the human suffering, we are immediately confronted with contemplating the potential scenarios our response might trigger or accelerate."

The speaker said if the U.S. response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria involves "the use of the United States military, it is essential that you provide a clear, unambiguous explanation of how military action -- which is a means, not a policy -- will secure U.S. objectives and how it fits into your overall policy."

"I respectfully request that you, as our country's commander-in-chief, personally make the case to the American people and Congress for how potential military action will secure American national security interests, preserve America's credibility, deter the future use of chemical weapons, and, critically, be a part of our broader policy and strategy," Boehner wrote.

He also called on the president to make clear what legal justification there is for use of force "and how the justification comports with the exclusive authority of Congressional authorization under Article I of the Constitution."

Also Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said in a statement the United States "should condemn the use of chemical weapons" and determine who used then, but he called for "an open debate in Congress over whether the situation warrants U.S. involvement," since the Constitution grants Congress the power to declare war.

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

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