Tags: Syria | senator | wicker | syria | vote | obama | chemical

Sen. Wicker: Purging Syria of Chemical Weapons a 'Thin Hope'

Thursday, 12 Sep 2013 04:01 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi says congressional lawmakers don't expect to ever take a vote on whether to support a military strike against Syria.

"We don't believe a vote will ever take place. This has given the president not only a timeout, but a way to avoid the embarrassing spectacle of the commander-in-chief being rebuffed on behalf of an overwhelming majority of the American people," Wicker, a Republican, told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

"If circumstances change, if there's a new atrocity, who can say? Who can say what this administration would do? But it would not be outside the realm of possibility that the president will simply go ahead with something limited and targeted. But I don't think we'll ever see a vote in the Senate."

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Wicker believes President Barack Obama's speech on Tuesday to the nation in which he asked Congress to postpone a vote now that Russia may intervene in seizing Syria's chemical weapons, did not change the American public's opinion of whether to act.

"The collective conclusion of the American people before and after the speech is that the president's [plan] is not a workable solution," he said.

"As presidents do, he was talking over the heads of Congress to the American people and that's perfectly fine. I don't think he won them over."

Wicker added that Russian President Vladimir Putin's offer to help the United States purge Syria of chemical weapons, which reportedly killed more than 1,400 people during a strike against Syrian rebels, is "a thin hope."

"It's something that we have an obligation to pursue, but it is not likely to happen in a war zone where there is a shooting war going on all over the country of Syria," he said.

"How on earth are neutral and detached United Nations representatives going to go in and secure chemical weapons, identify them, and receive them fully?"

He said the United States should push, through negotiation, for the ousting of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

"Our goal should be regime change in a negotiated settlement involving the moderate rebels and destruction and surrender of the chemical weapons," Wicker said.

"But it's going to be very hard to do and doubly and triply hard in a time of active combat not only in the countryside, but in the city of Damascus and the suburbs. That's not going to happen."

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