Democratic senator challenges Obama’s Syria policy

Updated

The White House is prepared to begin to arm Syrian rebels in the wake of evidence their government has used chemical weapons, but not all Democrats in the Senate believe that’s the best decision.

“There’s no way to guarantee that if you give serious arms that they’re not going to find their way to the very people we’re trying to fight around the globe,” Connecticut Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy said on Thursday’s The Daily Rundown.

Murphy, who voted in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee against President Obama’s proposal to begin arming the rebel soldiers, also questioned a lack of clarity on the end-game in Syria and called for more thoughtful discussion among lawmakers before big decisions are made.

“I just think that we have to ask ourselves, what are our goals here? It is just to topple Assad? I don’t think that’s the case. If it’s much more complicated than that, let’s have a debate so we know what we’re getting into,” said Murphy.

“Even if we are successful in beating Assad, there is probably going to be a follow-on, very complicated civil war,” Murphy added. “We’re talking about a potentially a decade long commitment here.”

Murphy, one of the leading gun control advocates in the Senate in the wake of the Newton massacre in his home state, explained the importance of outside forces in getting a bill back in front of Congress—but that the White House bully pulpit wasn’t going to change minds.

“We need five or six senators to change their mind and come over and vote with us later this year,” he said. “They’re not going to do that because of what the president or vice president is saying. They’re going to do that because they see an outside political infrastructure around gun reform that they don’t want to go up against next fall. It is really the outside’s movement that is going to change the minds of senators. Not necessarily the president.”

Democratic senator challenges Obama’s Syria policy

Updated