Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel didn't like hearing the Labor Day weekend described as being about "barbecue and bombs."
"We are not playing some damn war game, we are talking about people’s lives," Rangel said Tuesday in an interview to be broadcast on Fox Business Network's "Cavuto
"When someone told me this morning the weekend was about barbecues and bombs, how the heck can we think about the loss of American lives at barbecues or that the president’s credibility is on the line or we have to do it because of what people will think about us?" Rangel, D-N.Y., told host Neil Cavuto.
Earlier Tuesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee heard from Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey press the case for limited American action against Syria for using chemical weapons on civilians last month.
President Barack Obama, who had been expected to order Tomahawk missile strikes without seeking congressional approval, surprised observers on Saturday when he said he would get Congress' input.
Rangel said that's exactly what he should have done.
"It’s not throwing it in Congress' lap; it belongs in Congress' lap," Rangel said. "You have to come to Congress . . . No president has done that since Franklin Roosevelt, and it’s wrong, it’s unconstitutional and the Congress has gone along with it."
Rangel says that is because there is no longer a sense of shared sacrifice. He advocates bringing back the draft, for men and women, because it is mostly just the poor from rural and urban areas who are volunteering for military service.
"But if they thought for one minute every time we went to war, whether it’s Kosovo, or whether it’s Grenada, or Panama or whether it’s Iraq, then the Congress would take a second look before we let presidents do this," Rangel said.
Rangel said he'd vote no on taking action against Syria.
"I’ll be darned if anyone has made a case that the United States of America should knock out every bomb, every obscene threat to society — that we have to put our military upfront in doing it," he said.
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