Syria strike still up in the air

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) joined by Vice President Joe Biden delivers a statement on Syria in the Rose Garden of the White House on August 31, 2013 in Washington, D.C. Obama stated that he will seek Congressional authorization for the U.S. to take military action following the events in Syria.

Over the weekend, President Obama said he intends to take military action against Syria. His administration claims the Syrian government used chemical weapons, which killed more than 1,000 people.

But before he authorizes a military strike, the president says he wants to get approval from Congress.

Today, he and his advisers met with lawmakers. Tomorrow, the Senate is scheduled to hold hearings on Capitol Hill.   House Speaker John Boehner says we can expect an up or down vote as early as next week.

Gideon Rachman is the chief foreign affairs columnist for the Financial Times. He says American leaders can learn from what happened in Britain last week. 

"One thing you could learn is that you need to prepare these things -- partly because [David] Cameron felt that Britain had to get this debate through very quickly because military action seemed imminent," says Rachman. "The whole debate was botched...but I think one thing that Obama will learn is that you can just assume people will go through the lobbies in support of reaction."

It could be difficult to get the support of lawmakers in Washington, for this kind of operation, warns Rachman.  But  he says  with national security issues, people tend to be more prepared to bury partisan differences.

"The Americans clearly are more wary of military action than they were before Iraq and Afghanistan," he argues. "But still perhaps conscious of their role as global policemen, and more prepared to play that role."

About the author

David Gura is a reporter for Marketplace, based in the Washington, D.C. bureau.

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