Sen. Jeff Sessions says he hasn't decided about Obama's Syria strike request

benw@ledger-enquirer.comSeptember 7, 2013 

U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions hasn't made a decision on President Barack Obama's request to strike Syria for an alleged chemical weapons attack that killed more than 1,400 people, but his constituents overwhelmingly oppose such a move.

"We simply can't bomb every country in the world that violates some U.N. resolution or some treaty that has been signed," the Alabama Republican said Friday during a visit to the Regional Rehabilitation Hospital in Phenix City. "We just can't be the world's policeman that engages in that much activity, but we have to give the president a serious review on his request and consider this one on its own merits as to whether it is justified."

Over the last six days, Sessions said he has been back to Washington two times for secret briefings on the proposal.

Voters in his district, which stretches from Huntsville in the north to Mobile in the south, don't want the nation involved in some internal civil war in Syria. "We are having a large number of calls," he said. "They are clear."

On Thursday alone, the senator said about 250 callers expressed doubt or were hostile to support an attack while only two were in favor. "I just think people are worried and not confident the president has thought this through, and they are not inclined to get into another engagement that can be avoided," Sessions said.

The president's request was too broad with almost no limit on time and people, Sessions said. "That's not acceptable," he said. "It looks like the Senate may move a much smaller involved legislation up for a vote in the next week or two. We will be considering that as we go forward."

Sessions said he's disappointed the request was way too broad, and he doesn't agree with the statement from Secretary of State John Kerry who said, "If nations violate the rules of nations, we have to act."

Sessions said that's not possible every time.

"We just can't do it every time whether you like to or not," he said. "We just cannot."

Sessions also has questions on whether the action can make a difference.

"Is it going to make it better or could it make it worse?" he asked. "Are we embroiling ourselves deeper and deeper into a war that is not ours? The next thing you know we have committed billions of dollars and troops and not being able when it's over to have done any good anyway."

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