Hawkish Republicans who oppose President Obama’s request for authorization to attack Syria but are uncomfortable with doing nothing could coalesce around an alternative war resolution being drafted by Rep. Devin Nunes.
The Californian and House Intelligence Committee member is circulating legislative language among his Republican colleagues that would deny Obama immediate approval to launch a military strike against Syria. Instead, Nunes’ “Sense of the Congress” resolution would direct the president to reorient his military and diplomatic strategy for dealing with the Middle Eastern dictatorship and the danger it poses through its demonstrated willingness to deploy weapons of mass destruction.
“If you want the U.S. military to be involved, there better be a clear objective that involves regime change or containment of the WMD,” Nunes said in an interview earlier this week. Nunes plans to oppose the resolution authorizing the use of military force against Syria that is set for debated and a vote next week.
The Nunes resolution would call on Obama to return to Capital Hill within 60 days with a fresh justification for military strikes ostensibly designed to punish Syrian President Bashar Assad for an Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack that killed more than 1,400 of his own citizens, including 400 children. On Wednesday, Nunes’ office shared a preliminary draft of the resolution’s proposed language with The Washington Examiner:
It is the sense of Congress that the President shall report to Congress within sixty days on the justification for using military force in Syria, including:
a. An explanation of the steps he has taken to secure greater support from America’s allies, including NATO, for his plan of action in Syria;
b. A detailed plan for military action in Syria, including specific goals and military objectives;
c. An explanation of what would qualify as a successful effort to “degrade” the Assad regime’s chemical weapons supply;
d. An explanation of how a “limited” military strike, if that is the preferred course of action, would help to secure Syria’s chemical weapons supplies and deter the future use of chemical weapons;
e. An explanation of how a “limited” military strike would advance the President’s policy supporting regime change in Syria, and what he has done to ensure that terrorist groups will not seize power there and/or gain control of Syria’s chemical weapons;
f. An explanation of how a “limited” military strike on Syria would prevent Iran and Russia from keeping the Assad regime in power;
g. An explanation of whether al Qaeda or other terrorist groups in Syria have access to chemical weapons, and whether they have used them in the past or could use them in the future;
h. An explanation of whether weapons from Libya are now being used by the Syrian opposition.
i. An estimate of the financial cost of his course of action in Syria.