In light of this week’s revelation that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad might have used chemical weapons against rebels fighting to unseat him, leaders from both sides of the aisle are becoming more vocal about what role the United States should play in the country. Having described such an attack as a “red line” that would solicit a ”prudent” response from the U.S., some are wondering how President Obama plans to respond to the alleged attacks.
David Rhode, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and Reuters columnist, suggested that the U.S. take a more passive route, helping with economic aid and trading among other non-lethal aid on Weekends with Alex Witt Sunday.
“Our people are terrified of mistakenly training one Jihadist, because they know they’ll be pounced on in Washington in our partisan atmosphere. So our division at home is sort of leading us to be too cautious and we really have no power abroad because we’re so divided at home,” Rhode said, suggesting that the U.S. should make it easier to strengthen opposition on the ground.
The White House explained this week that evidence of Syria’s chemical use is preliminary and that the government would be gathering more intelligence on the matter.
Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona has called for a no-fly zone in order to offset Syria’s air power and a plan for securing Syria’s stockpiles of weapons. Democrats such as Senator Clair McCaskill of Missouri have called for less military aid and more humanitarian assistance to civilians.