Officially, the Obama Administration is entirely confident of its ability to sell Congress on the Syrian War, with Secretary of State John Kerry pushing the case again while downplaying the importance of what Congress thinks.
It isn’t clear if this is false bravado or simply the impression the administration has gotten from only talking to the tireless hawks in the leadership about the war, but Congressmen are overwhelmingly suggesting it’s going to be a “tough sell.”
More and more Congressmen are going public with their opposition to the war, and with experts saying the administration’s “evidence” is flimsy, there is little reason to think they can coax the “on the fence” voters onto the pro-war side.
Among the unquestioning hawks, there’s been no small amount of annoyance that President Obama decided to bring it to a vote, for fear that they’re not going to win. Kerry’s suggestion that the president had the “right” to attack Syria even if Congress told them not to may well be an effort to placate the hawks.
But it also risks alienating the rest of Congress quite a bit. Large numbers of Congressmen were demanding a say on this war, and for the administration to agree to give it to them but then imply it doesn’t matter is just one more slap in the face to the notion of oversight over the executive branch.
Many are also expressing concerns about the wording of the request, as while the president claims to be planning a brief, in-and-out strike, the resolution seeks open-ended authorization and is very vaguely worded.
Right now the effort seems to be to sell the war any way they can, and with a lot of “undecided” in Congress they appear to believe they can simply trick them into authorizing the war. With debate scheduled for the week of September 9, the prospect of holding the votes on 9/11 in the hopes of trying to link the war to lingering hawkish sentiment of that also can’t be ruled out.
Pulling that vote off isn’t going to be any easy task, however, because the case remains extremely weak for the administration’s narrative, and they are constantly at risk of the United Nations releasing their own report contradicting them. The longer the wait, the more likely the UN is to release a report, and that’s something the administration seems desperate to avoid.
Antiwar.com urges all readers to contact their Congressmen and urge them to vote against attacking Syria. Click here for contract information.