The Associated Press

Mass. Delegation Urges Obama To Use Caution On Syria

BOSTON — Members of the state’s congressional delegation urged caution on Wednesday as President Barack Obama weighed a U.S. response to the apparent use of chemical weapons in Syria.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren said the alleged chemical attack on civilians by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s administration is reprehensible but the U.S. must have an achievable goal before taking action.

“We may have good intentions, but the consequences of our acts are not limited by those intentions.”
– Sen. Elizabeth Warren

“It’s critically important that we remember about unintended consequences,” Warren said. “We may have good intentions, but the consequences of our acts are not limited by those intentions.”

Sen. Edward Markey said it’s important for the U.S. to send a message that chemical weapons are unacceptable, but he said any strike should be narrow and targeted at chemical weapons capabilities. He said the U.S. cannot get bogged down in a civil war.

“As long as it was surgical, limited and not involving American ground troops then it is possible for us to send a strong signal to Assad that chemical weapons are not usable in the 21st century,” he said.

Rep. Stephen Lynch said the U.S. should seek international support, including the backing of NATO, before any attack. Lynch, echoing the comments of other members of the state’s all-Democratic delegation, also said that no decision should be made without consulting Congress.

“We should have meaningful debate,” he said.

The Obama administration in recent days has made clear it believes it must take punitive action against Syria for the use of chemical weapons, which are banned by international convention. Obama on Wednesday declared unequivocally the United States has “concluded” the Syrian government carried out a deadly chemical weapons attack on civilians, but he didn’t present any direct evidence.

The group Doctors Without Borders says an Aug. 21 attack outside the Syrian capital, Damascus, killed 355 people.

U.S. officials are still grappling with how to design a military strike to deter future chemical weapons attacks in Syria and assessing how Assad might respond.

Assad has denied using chemical weapons, calling the allegations “preposterous.”

Rep. John Tierney said there are other governments and political groups in the region that should step up, including Turkey and the 22-member Arab League, which has blamed the Syrian regime for the attack and called for justice for victims.

“There are a lot of players,” Tierney said, “and the United States doesn’t always have to be the most outraged and the most aggressive.”

Rep. Michael Capuano said he’s always hesitant to vote for military action but conceded some kind of strike may be imminent. If so, he said, the Obama administration must call Congress back into session and consult with it.

The potential for a strike comes as most members of Congress have left Washington and are in their home districts.

Capuano said that while he has no doubt the U.S. would be able to mount a successful strike the fallout is tough to predict.

“The question is what happens the day after military action in both Syria and the region,” he said. “Is it a wise move in the short term and more importantly in the long term?”

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  • dust truck

    I say she should launch an investigation of military manufacturers to make sure they’re not bribing US officials just because they need some 4th quarter profits.

    • fun bobby

      its called lobbying not bribing. its all perfectly legal because the recipients make the laws

      • dust truck

        touché bobby.

  • fun bobby

    surgical! what could be more surgical than cruise missiles and smart bombs? perhaps next time markey needs surgery the doctor should use explosives

  • X-Ray

    Well, if the Administration has concluded that Assad is responsible, then the
    next step would be to go to Congress, as required by the Constitution, to go to
    war, to attack a sovereign country with heavy military force. The “facts” and
    evidence can then be debated, in secret if necessary.

  • Barry Kort

    If President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron have evidence that Assad has “crossed a red line” regarding the use of chemical weapons against his own people, then let them go to the International Court and seek an indictment and trial of Assad on Crimes Against Humanity. That would be the reasonable demonstration of belief in and respect for the Rule of Law.

    If Obama and/or Cameron were to take unilateral military action to “punish” Assad, that would be evidence that neither Obama nor Cameron genuinely believe in the concept of the Rule of Law as it has stood for the past 4000 years.

  • craferr

    Per Mint Press online, the Syrian event was the result of mishandling of chemical weapons by US ally the Syrian “rebels” , provided by US ally Saudi Arabia. The “intelligence” provided as proof by SOS Kerry that the US has monitored Syrian missle launches an strike sites completely misses the accidental event described. Moreover it points to inept intelligence, use of intelligence, foreign policy, and mainsteam media inquisitiveness. The admission by the administration of their catastrophic rush to false judgement and action is damning, and something they are very likely to keep covered up, preferring minimal action instead.

    • Barry Kort

      If the US subscribes to the protocols of the scientific method, then Kerry is obliged to consider all hypotheses on the table and try like the dickens to falsify each and every one, until there emerges a sole surviving hypothesis fully concordant with all the forensic evidence.

      UN Weapons Inspectors need to visit the tunnels where the alleged accident occurred and collect evidence to either affirm or refute the hypothesis outlined in Dale Gavlak’s report in the Mint Press News.

      Then, once the forensic investigation identifies the party or parties deploying chemical weapons in contravention of international law, it is incumbent that those civilized nations which embrace the concept of the rule of law take their case to the International Criminal Court, there to indict and try the parties implicated in the use of verboten chemical weapons.

  • Martin Gasman

    We should make every effort to kill Assad, his political leadership, his economic leadership and his military leadership. This will make the use of chemical weapons 5 or 35 years from now less likely.

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