What can bring a New England liberal and a southern Tea Partier together, other than the theme song from “The Odd Couple”? Staying out of Syria’s messy civil war.
Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Mike Lee (R-UT), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced bipartisan legislation to prohibit the President from using any funds on activities that would escalate U.S. involvement in the Syrian civil war.
The bill would ban the Department of Defense, the CIA and all other intelligence agencies from funding any military, paramilitary or covert operations in Syria. The legislation would not affect humanitarian aid.
All four Senators have spoken out strongly in opposition to President Obama’s decision to arm rebel groups in Syria. Udall, Murphy and Paul, all members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, cast the lone votes in Committee against authorizing the President to arm and train rebels fighting the forces of President Bashar al-Assad in an ongoing civil war.
President Obama pledged military aid to Syrian rebel forces for the first time after Bashar al-Assad was determined to have used chemical weapons. But those rebels are flush with Islamist fighters and the administration has refused to provide specifics on the arms being supplied. The possibility of giving violent jihadists weapons, as well as a post-Iraq sense of caution, has raised concerns on both the left and the right. Udall-Lee-Murphy-Paul represents a nice bipartisan fence of opinion against Syrian intervention. It will be interesting to see if the president responds.
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