CEDAR RAPIDS — Iowa congressmen are offering only conditional support for President Barack Obama’s call for military action against Syria.

Although he finds the president’s statements “compelling,” Iowa’s senior member of Congress, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, said Iowans at his recent town hall meetings had “lots of questions” and showed no support for military intervention.

Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin came away from a classified congressional briefing with more questions than answers. Although Syria’s “atrocious use of chemical weapons against civilians is an affront to human values (that) should be condemned,” Harkin warned against rushing into “what may become a new open-ended war without broad international backing or a full understanding of the ramifications.”

Obama is asking Congress to approve military action against Syria, which the administration said launched a chemical weapon attack against rebels that killed more than 1,400 people, including several hundred children.

Last week, Obama put his plans on hold and is seeking congressional approval for military action. Senators and representatives are not scheduled to return to Washington until Monday.

Iowa’s U.S. House members seem no more eager for military action than Harkin and Grassley.

First District Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley called for House leaders to call Congress back immediately to debate military action in Syria. Although he thinks Obama is making the right decision to seek congressional authorization for a military response, Braley stopped short of endorsing such action.

Likewise, 2nd District Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack condemned Syria’s action, but “after more than a decade of war during which time our troops and military families have made great sacrifices on our behalf, we must exercise extreme caution in undertaking military action.”

Third District Republican Rep. Tom Latham said the president hasn’t made the case for stepping into a civil war.

“I have not heard any kind of an end game or what the purpose is,” he said.

Fourth District Rep. Steve King was not available for comment, according to his staff.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee will have a hearing on the use of military force against Syria at 11 a.m. Wednesday. C-SPAN and C-SPAN radio will broadcast the hearing.

(13) comments

sludgefund
sludgefund

War is a racket. John Kerry's buddies at Raytheeon are going to make some nice profits from those $1.5 million Tomahawk "intervention" missiles.

Klaatu
Klaatu

Obama absolutely skewered Bush for unilateral action that had a lot more support than this. Democrats are hypocrisy epitomized. So after we depose Assad with American might, we then have Al Qaeda to deal with. Idiocy.

aequitas
aequitas

From what I have heard and read, the end goal would not be to depose Assad with American might. It sounds like the action is meant only to send a message that the use of chemical weapons will not be tolerated, which is more measured and nuanced than pursuing a full regime change. Like usual, you're making straw man arguments.

There's plenty of room to debate the necessity and prudence of maintaining that international norm against the use of chemical weapons (I'm not convinced that using chemical weapons against one's own political opposition deserves greater outrage than using conventional weapons.), but let's be honest about what the proposed action is and what it isn't.

snowman05

Love seeing liberals split hairs to justify military action when one of theirs is in power.

So no UN resolution? Going it alone? What hairs are you going to split now?

aequitas
aequitas

Snowman05, where in my post did I justify military action in Syria? Let me save you the trouble: nowhere. Just because I think we should debate proposals that actually exist instead of made up straw men does not mean I think the proposals are the best course of action. In fact, the one sentence that indicates where I stand on the issue said the opposite. "I'm not convinced that using chemical weapons against one's own political opposition deserves greater outrage than using conventional weapons."

Using any weapons against noncombatant civilians is deplorable, and Russia and China are being complicit in these crimes against humanity. However, absent clear bipartisan support and support from the international community, I don't think we should get involved.

Klaatu
Klaatu

So we spend about a billion dollars and risk triggering a regional war for show? We should wage war to achieve definable strategic goals and it must be to WIN. This is about face saving for Obama. No symbolic war, that is obscene. Obama caused this with his stupid remarks about a " red line". All of a sudden we have democrats invoking the same argument in favor of action in Syria that they mocked in other places. But this is Bummer's war and Bummer can do no wrong to them.

just curious

So barack hussein let his mouth overload his rear and now Congress is supposed to come to the rescue to retain 'credibility'? All he ever does is bad-mouth Congress and says he "can't wait on Congress" so he will 'go around' Congress. Now he needs them to cover his behind. I say let it all hang out.

aequitas
aequitas

I wouldn't go so far as to call it a symbolic war. They're proposing strategic strikes to eliminate Syria's capacity for future use of chemical weapons. That's a pretty narrow objective, which is definable and achievable. Calling it a full out war brings with it images of boots on the ground, which is not what is being proposed. It's perfectly reasonable for you to have a much broader definition that includes any action by any military personnel, though.

On your point about Democrats invoking arguments that they previously mocked, this situation is different in that there is a verifiable humanitarian crisis that is currently occurring and the proposal is only for strategic missile strikes. In Iraq, there was no current or imminent humanitarian crisis and the proposal was for ground invasion. That's a pretty big difference.

just curious

Krauthammer says if barack Hussein wants to send a message use western union or a text - not tomahawk missles.

snowman05

Klaattu, Obama couldn't organize a bingo game at an old folks home. He'd just put a sign up that says we are having a game because I said so.

Xochitl
Xochitl

It is amazing to me that Congress is STILL on vacation. Is it not their JOB to come back in a crisis? Instead, they are out raising money, hob nobbing and just all round doing nothing to earn their pay. Only 126 days in session this year. And even they they can't get anything done. Kick the bums out!

snowman05

Hearings were today. So they are doing their job.

Klaatu
Klaatu

Yes, and it is clear there is very little difference between the republican and democrat leaderships. They are both elitist political ruling class types. I am ready for an alternative. A pox on both party leaderships.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.