Now that the Obama administration has declared that Syrian President Bashar Assad has crossed a “red line” by using chemical weapons against his own people, another rare bipartisan moment has arrived in the nation’s capital.
Republicans welcomed the White House announcement Thursday that it was prepared to offer military assistance to the rebels, but their reaction contained implied criticisms of President Obama’s approach to Syria up to now.
For example, there was this from Brendan Buck, Speaker John Boehner’s spokesman: “It is long past time to bring the Assad regime’s bloodshed in Syria to an end. As President Obama examines his options, it is our hope he will properly consult with Congress before taking any action.”
(Shorter Buck: “What took so long? Also, this better not be like the end-run around Congress like on the Libya no-fly zone.”)
Rep. Mike Rogers, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, issued two separate statements. An excerpt from the first:
“I am pleased that President Obama’s Administration has joined the growing international chorus declaring that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons in Syria, crossing the red line drawn by the President last August…”
(Shorter Rogers, part one: “It’s about time!”)
And an excerpt from the second:
” …Now that we have confirmed their use, the question is what is our plan for transition to a post-Assad Syria? I have laid out several steps, short of boots on the ground. The world is waiting for American leadership.”
(Shorter Rogers, part 2: “Mr. President, read my USA Today opinion piece.”)
Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina issued a joint statement in which they called for the president to order up the use of cruise missiles against Syrian military targets. An excerpt:
“The President’s red line has been crossed. U.S. credibility is on the line. Now is not the time to merely take the next incremental step. Now is the time for more decisive actions.”
(Shorter McCain and Graham: “Add some shock-and-awe to your No-Drama-Obama.”)