The Big Conversation
President Barack Obama may have swayed congressional leaders on Syria, but many Texans in Washington remain unconvinced.
After a meeting at the White House on Tuesday, the two top House Republicans, Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, announced their support for military action in Syria in response to evidence that the government there launched a chemical weapons attack.
But U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who attended the meeting, held off on backing Obama's current proposal. "Unfortunately, many questions are still left unanswered," Cornyn said, according to the Houston Chronicle, adding that the president "needs to explain in detail what vital national interests are at stake, his plan for securing those interests and a clear definition of what success looks like in Syria."
Cornyn's home-state colleague, Republican Ted Cruz, echoed Cornyn's concerns, saying Obama had boxed himself in by drawing a "red line" on chemical attacks. "It seems the president is trying to protect his public relations, because he drew a red line and, essentially, the bluff was called," Cruz said on Glenn Beck's radio show.
"I’m still grappling with what’s in the national security interest of the United States," said Rep. Mac Thornberry, a Clarendon Republican who serves on the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees. "I worry about the cons of doing nothing. I also worry about the consequences of a limited action."
Reps. Joe Barton of Arlington, Ralph Hall of Rockwall and John Culberson of Houston are among the Republicans who have voiced opposition to military action.
And while many congressional Democrats have expressed cautious support, some — like Beto O'Rourke of El Paso, who held a forum on the matter Tuesday — are still weighing whether to side with the president or with their anti-war or war-weary constituencies.
"What we are talking about, ladies and gentlemen, is going to war — however it is declared, however it is articulated," O'Rourke said at the forum, where emotions ran high, as the Tribune's Julián Aguilar reports.
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Quote to Note: "Let the international community and some of the other nations who always ask us to do their dirty work, let them get involved." — U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Arlington, to The Dallas Morning News on whether the U.S. should intervene in Syria
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