Senator Collins undecided on Syria; Says Obama “line in the sand” approach a mistake

Rob Poindexter

Updated 11 months ago

President Obama continues to push for congressional support for his plan to use military action against Syria after the administration says the Syrian president authorized the use of chemical weapons against his own people. “We have sent up a draft authorization. We are going to be asking for hearings and a prompt vote,” the president said Tuesday.President Obama now has the support of two key lawmakers. Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and House Speaker John Boehner.”I’m gonna support the president’s call for action. I believe my colleagues should support this call for action,” Boehner said Tuesday.Maine Senator Susan Collins was in Waterville to speak at a chamber event Tuesday but says she’s headed back to Washington right after the event is over for more briefings before deciding whether she will support the president’s call for military action.”Based on the classified information I’ve seen, I have no doubt that the Syrian regime was responsible for more than a thousand deaths including the deaths of small children by the use of sarin gas.”But Collins says she has a lot of questions about the Obama plan and voiced her concern about the lack of allies agreeing to support a U.S. military strike in Syria.”I’m concerned about getting involved in Syria’s civil war,: Collins said. “And I’m also concerned about a further escalation of violence to the entire region. I am very leery of the United States going it alone. I think that that would be a mistake and that the Arab states need to step up to the plate.”Collins, a member of the Selct Committee on Intelligence, was also critical of the president’s brazen approach.”The president made a statement about drawing a line in the sand without having a well vetted plan for what he would do if Assad did in fact proceed to use chemical weapons,” Collins said. “Now we have a situation where America’s credibility is at stake and we have to worry about what signal we’re sending to Iran, for example, which is pursuing a nuclear weapon.”Collins will meet with members of the president’s team Wednesday when she hopes to get some of her questions answered before casting her vote. A vote from Congress could come at the end of next week.Senator Angus king also released a statement Tuesday on Syria:“As Congress prepares to debate the important question of authorizing military force against the Assad regime in Syria, it is critical that I thoroughly study the evidence and hear the arguments presented by the Administration, my colleagues, and the people of Maine who have reached out to me.  “This morning I returned to Washington to attend a Senate and House classified briefing on the situation in Syria, as well as a Senate Intelligence Committee classified briefing on the intelligence assessment related to chemical weapons. Tomorrow, I plan to attend a Senate Armed Services Committee classified briefing on military strategy and its possible ramifications. “I have not yet arrived at a decision on how I will vote, but as I have previously said, I will continue to examine the facts and hear the arguments before arriving at a conclusion that I believe will best serve the interests of the United States.”


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