Congressional War Fight: Senate Split, Broad Opposition in House

Minority Leader Sen. McConnell Won't Back War

A week-long battle to convince both houses of Congress to back a US attack on Syria began in earnest today, with officials lobbying the Senate and finding a lot of skepticism about their plans.

The Senate, which was supposed to be the easier sell on the war, is deeply divided on the matter, and Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R – KY) confirming that he won’t back the resolution.

Though most of the high profile leadership is seen as pro-war as a matter of course, repeated polls showing broad voter opposition to the war will likely have an impact, particularly on those senators, like McConnell, who are facing reelection next year.

Publicly, the Obama Administration is insisting it is 100% confident that Congress will back them, citing support from leadership. Yet it is clear it’s going to be a tough enough fight that they are willing to “water down” the resolutions to try to squeak them past a few moderates.

Which might be easier in the Senate than the House, since everyone in the House is facing reelection battles, and are no doubt watching all these polls showing that their constituents don’t want this war.

The House leadership is on board with the war, of course, but the rank-and-file are overwhelmingly skeptical, with some suggesting that 80% of House Republicans are at least somewhat opposed to the war.

Officials are throwing every rhetorical trick in the book at Congress to see what sticks at this point, from Hitler to Iran, and making any empty promises about keeping the war limited to skeptics while talking up escalation to hawks.

There is palpable desperation in the administration’s attempts to sell the war at all costs, and while officials have regularly tried to trick the country into war throughout history, there have been few that have been so flagrant about it. Fortunately, the polls are still not on their side, and the American public appear unwilling to be fooled this time. urges all readers to contact their Congressmen and urge them to vote against attacking Syria. Click here for contract information.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.