Chief Deputy House Whip Peter Welch of Vermont told Jansing & Co. Monday that “the common sense test” has already convinced most members of Congress that Syria’s Bashar al-Assad inflicted a chemical weapons attack on his own people. He also said many members of Congress believe that a strike against Assad’s government is justified. But those are not the issues keeping him and his colleagues undecided.
The Vermont Democrat and one of the individuals in charge of actually counting the votes said that the question that remains unanswered is: “Will a strike actually make matters, a bad situation, worse or will it make it better?”
That precarious question is the source of the reluctance coming from both him and his colleagues. Welch said that a U.S.-led military strike could potentially empower bad actors on the Sunni rebel side and exacerbate deep divisions among ethnic minorities.
“Once you launch that strike, we’re not totally in control of the situation and the American people have seen that all the predictions oftentimes evaporate once the firing begins,” he said. “Bottom line, there is not a decision we’re going to make that isn’t going to have some adverse implications. If we don’t act, does it give a green light to Assad? If we do act, does it unleash the dogs of war? This is a tough call for the country.”