Sen. Mike Lee: Obama Has 'Failed to Make Case' for Syria Intervention

Tuesday, 10 Sep 2013 04:20 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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Sen. Mike Lee is encouraged by the possibility that a U.S. military strike against Syria may be prevented, but adds that it will be very difficult to definitively learn whether it has given up all of its chemical weapons.

"It’s always better if we can avoid military intervention in the Syrian civil war . . . It would be better not to attack and better not to thereby entangle ourselves in a really protracted, bloody, complicated civil war," the Utah Republican told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

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"I would add as a word of caution, though, that it would be a really difficult thing to ensure and to verify that all of their chemical weapons had, in fact, been accounted for and were on a path toward destruction."

His remarks came as the U.S. mulls an offer by Russia to supervise placing Syria’s chemical weapons under international control.

Lee, a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, said Obama administration's consideration of the proposal "might tell us that they are virtually certain that they don't have the votes either in the Senate or in the House to authorize the use of military force by the United States."

He said he personally believes President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel "failed to make the case to me and to most Americans that we have any business going to war in Syria, that we have any business entangling ourselves in a really complicated civil war the outcome of which is very unknown."

He said the fact that Syria now appears to be open about the chemical weapons they possess, and which were recently used against Syrian rebels, killing more than 1,400, is, "perhaps, an indication that they don't want an attack.

"I suspect that the White House might well say this is the product of our threat. Regardless of why they're doing this, if they end up doing it, that's a great thing . . . If it helps us avoid this war, that would be fantastic and I'd love to see it. I want to see a proposal."

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