Lawmakers should answer some critical questions as Congress debates whether to give the Obama administration authorization to launch a military strike against Syria for alleged use of chemical weapons.

In an impassioned appeal, President Barack Obama said last Wednesday the credibility of the international community and Congress is on the line in the debate over how to respond to alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government against its own citizens.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted Wednesday to authorize the use of force, the first in a series of votes as the president’s request makes its way through Senate and House committee before coming before the two chambers for a final vote.

But as Congress deliberates it should answer several serious questions:

Why should Congress act before U.N. investigators who gathered evidence in the area of the suspected attack concludes its investigation?

If the Syrian government did use chemical weapons why should the United States get involved? What is the national security interest?

Polls show most Americans widely oppose military action against Syria what urgent and compelling reasons are there for the administration and Congress to defy the wishes of the American people?

If military action is taken on humanitarian grounds and not for national security reasons then why should the United States get more involved in Syria when there are other humanitarian tragedies in the Sudan and other countries in the world?

Although it appears unlikely, what happens if Congress fails to give authorization, will the Obama administration go ahead anyway? If so, would Congress vigorously oppose such an action or simply go along?

What assurances are there that the ‘limited action” the Obama administration is proposing won’t escalate into a larger military conflict?

Some lawmakers including Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., are pushing for more than cruise missile strikes and other limited action. Will this open the door for those who are seeking more aggressive military action and are seeking regime change in Syria?

Finally has every diplomatic means been used to resolve the two-year civil war in Syria before military action is contemplated?

(Reprinted from the Philadelphia Tribune.)



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