Opinion: U.S. involvement in Syria

After reports broke of chemical attacks in Syria during the final weeks of August, the United States has deliberated on whether or not to step in and deliver punitive strikes.

After reports broke of chemical attacks in Syria during the final weeks of August, the United States has deliberated on whether or not to step in and deliver punitive strikes.

Matthew Mitterhoff

Photo courtesy of abc.net

President Obama announced on Saturday that he was going to ask for congressional approval to deliver a limited military strike against Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria. This announcement comes after evidence confirming Assad’s use of chemical weapons against his citizen.

Personally, I support the humanitarian effort by the Obama administration to send a message to Assad’s regime. It is extremely cruel and repugnant to attack over 1,400 of your citizens, almost a third of those being children, by means of chemical weapons. But let’s focus on what Obama’s seeking of congressional approval means for American politics.

Obama’s pursuit of congressional authority is a smart political move. If the two houses pass a war resolution, it signifies the White House and Congress can reach an agreeable solution.

A victory can also show that a deeply divided House and a filibuster-ridden Senate can compromise on humanitarian issues. Specifically, if the Republicans in the House come together and vote in a party-aligned fashion, or even if they become divided on the issue, it can create a basis for a make-or-break Republican Party platform.

The Republican Party is struggling to find its footing on almost every issue the country faces; action in Syria could be the start of a new Republican party. This unity is especially important for the debt ceiling & government shutdown debates looming when Congress returns to session on Monday.

As of Wednesday night, there doesn’t seem to be much blockading a vote on a military strike. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed a resolution stating their intentions; Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) says there is no plan to filibuster (although it has been slightly contended); the House will start deliberations on a resolution soon, with many of the representatives undecided.

It is extremely unfortunate, although very necessary, that the U.S. has to step into Syria. But the rise of such an impending and complicated issue allows for American politics to find their footing, and hopefully win back the trust of some of the American public.