The antiwar caucus, back together

Congress members who opposed Iraq War reunite to decry Syria incursion without Congressional approval

Published August 29, 2013 1:39PM (EDT)

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.                       (Reuters/Jason Reed)
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. (Reuters/Jason Reed)

Many of the same voices, from both sides aisle, who fought against the decision to invade Iraq are now focusing their antiwar messaging on Syria. As Politico noted, many Democrats are not so much condemning possible attacks on the Assad regime, but demanding that proper Congressional channels be consulted first, while a strong current of libertarian Republicans -- Rand Paul at their core -- are decrying possible strikes outright:

They’re not exactly demanding that President Barack Obama stand down from launching airstrikes in the country. Like many Republican lawmakers, they want Congress to authorize any military action there and are urging the administration to allow a healthy debate on the proper U.S. role — if any — in the dangerous country.

There is ferment out there — you just haven’t seen it yet,” said Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.). “If they fire rockets in there, you’ll see a lot of people saying this is an absolute mistake, they should not have done it, I do not support it. The storm will follow if [Obama] goes without having the backing of the Congress.”
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) on Wednesday circulated a letter among liberal Democrats — 12 have signed on so far — that asked Obama to “seek an affirmative decision of Congress prior to committing any U.S. military engagement to this complex crisis.”

Right now, the loudest voices condemning possible airstrikes have come from Republicans like Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky. Rep. Scott Rigell of Virginia on Tuesday has collected more than 110 signatures from Democrats and Republicans for a letter urging Obama to seek congressional authorization before attacking Syria.
“The war in Syria has no clear national security connection to the United States and victory by either side will not necessarily bring into power people friendly to the United States,” Paul said Wednesday

By Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email

MORE FROM Natasha Lennard

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Barbara Lee Bashar Al-assad Congress Democrats Rand Paul Republicans Syria Syria Attacks