The President's Syria Decision Debated

Events in Syria, and US policy towards them, dominated "Fox News Sunday."


A cabinet secretary, three influential members of Congress, a four-star general and a former senator joined the program to weigh in.


 



Secretary of State John Kerry, who laid out a powerful idictment against the Assad regime Friday, defended the administration's decision to put on hold military action against Syria until Congress weighs in.


Kerry argued that the case for action will only grow stronger as more evidence comes to light.


The case for action “is powerful today and will be as powerful each day” that goes on, Kerry said.


In a new development, Kerry revealed that samples from the suburbs surrounding Damscus have tested positive for signatures of sarin.


If Assad is tempted to take this pause as an opporunity to launch further chemical attacks against the Syrian people, Kerry had a warning for the regime:


"If the Assad regime were to be foolish enough to attack yet again and to do something in the meantime, of course the president of the United States knows he has the power to do this, and I assume the president would move very, very rapidly."


The House of Representatives is not scheduled to return until September 9 and the delay in decision has caused the Syrian regime and its allies to claim victory over the U.S.


Asked whether delay has handed Iran and Syria at least a temporary victory, Kerry said “that is in the hands of the Congress of the United States.”



Representative Pete King (R-NY) was harsh and immediate in his criticism of the president's announcement Saturday.


On Sunday, King argued that the president has "absolute constitutional and statutory power" to take action, doubling down on his statement the day before that the president is "abdicating his responsibility as commander-in-chief."


King argued that the president should call Congress back into session immediately to take up the issue of authorizing force.


Asked whether the House majority could get such a measure passed, though, King said "it would probably be a no vote" today, adding that there is a growing isolationist movement in the party that he thinks is "very dangerous."


Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), who has been opposed to military intervention in Syria from the beginning, voiced his doubts about passage in the Senate as well.


Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) defended the administration's decision.


"The president made the right decision," Reed said.


He argued that this pause will give time for the administration to also build international support.