“Over the past week, I have traveled my state and have talked personally to hundreds of Georgians,” said Isakson, a Republican and resident of east Cobb. “Thousands more constituents have contacted my office by phone and email. It is clear to me that Georgians overwhelmingly oppose our country getting involved militarily in Syria.”
Isakson went on to say in his statement that, “The administration’s lack of a clear strategy is troubling, and the potential fallout following a military strike is also troubling.”
In addition to Isakson, Cobb County is represented by four others in both houses of Congress.
U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss favors a military strike, U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta) is opposed to one, and U.S. Reps. David Scott (D-South Cobb) and Tom Price (R-Roswell) were undecided as of Monday.
An Associated Press poll showed that 61 percent of those surveyed nationwide want Congress to vote against authorization of U.S. military strikes in Syria and 26 percent want lawmakers to support such an action, with the remainder undecided.
Kerwin Swint, a political science professor at Kennesaw State University, said public sentiment is so strongly against a strike, particularly in Georgia, that he finds it very hard to see Congress authorizing one.
“A U.N. finding in the next week could change the dynamics somewhat,” Swint said. “And though it seems like a long shot, there are reports that Russia is trying to convince Syria to turn over their stockpiles (of chemical weapons), which could possibly lead the U.S. to reconsider a military strike. In any case, the U.S. should not act without cover from the U.N. and our international partners. It’s not in our direct security interests, and it’s too risky to act unilaterally.”
Repercussions for red-line crossing
Chambliss has supported some kind of military intervention for some time now, although he remains upset that Obama has taken as long as he has to ask Congress for authorization. Chambliss said Aug. 31 the evidence is clear that Obama’s “red line” was crossed long ago and the U.S. must respond. Chambliss went on to say on Aug. 28 that “there can be no doubt” the Assad regime is responsible for using chemical weapons on the Syrian people based on “available intelligence.”
“It is time for the United States to act in a serious way, and send a clear message to Assad and his allies that the world will not tolerate chemical or biological attacks,” Chambliss said. “Continuing to do nothing is not an option. Short of putting troops on the ground, I believe a meaningful military response is appropriate.”
Mired down in a Syrian civil war
Gingrey is opposed to using U.S. military force in Syria. He called the use of chemical weapons a reprehensible atrocity that should be universally condemned.
“However, after receiving a classified intelligence briefing, meeting with top foreign policy advisors, and considering the hundreds of appeals I’ve received from concerned constituents, I’ve concluded that U.S. action in Syria would be imprudent,” Gingrey said in a statement. “With so many unanswered questions, we simply cannot risk getting mired down in the Syrian civil war — especially when our security interests aren’t being directly threatened.”
Price said Obama imposed a self-determined “red line” over a year ago warning Syria that some type of military action would follow the use of chemical weapons.
“He then ignored the use of those same weapons this past spring,” Price said. “Clearly, leading from behind has consequences.”
Price said his own belief is that a vote must be taken in Congress to authorize the use of military force, although he declined to say how he would vote.
“This new-found interest in what Congress thinks about anything is enormously welcome, and Congress will thoughtfully and deliberately evaluate information presented by the administration,” Price said. “It will require, however, that the president coherently present his rationale and strategic goals that may be accomplished by his plan. While we condemn the horrific murder of innocent people within Syria, the United States must determine whether or not our national security interest is best served by military intervention.”
A spokesman for Scott said he was attending a briefing at the White House on Monday and that he was undecided on whether to authorize a strike.