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Michelle Obama 'suspicious' of Syria strike

Americans overwhelmingly oppose a US military strike on Syria, and loyal supporters in the president's own party – not to mention Michelle Obama – are wary, too.

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“The effects of a strike are too unpredictable,” he said, adding that he wants to “give diplomatic measures that could avoid military action a chance to work.”

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Meanwhile, Sen. Ben Cardin (D) of Maryland  is rethinking his decision last week to support the president in committee.

"I voted yes in the committee but I have concerns about action, right now we need to deal with #Syria via diplomacy if possible," Mr. Cardin said on Twitter.

Just a few days ago, Minnesota Sen. Al Franken (D) was leaning toward an endorsement of a resolution giving the president the power to act. He, too, expressed his concern Tuesday that the resolution in the Senate pipeline is too sweeping. He said he worries that while Obama isn’t pushing for boots on the ground now, an initial engagement could expand into a broader conflict.

"I want to know more about the details of that response and its scope before I decide whether to support or oppose this or any resolution in the US Senate," Senator Franken said, according to the Star Tribune.

Franken said that when the president addresses the nation Tuesday night he should explain how “the United States will deal with the risks and unintended consequences of a possible attack.”

These three members are solid progressives from left-leaning states. If they’re taking a pass on the resolution or are on the fence anew, the Obama administration must consider the prospect of a failed vote – in the Democrat-controlled Senate as well as the GOP-controlled House. 

So then it’s no surprise that as hopes for a diplomatic strategy strengthened Tuesday – with the US weighing a Russian proposal to force Syria to give up its chemical weapons – the Senate delayed tomorrow’s scheduled vote on the use of force.

These seeming defections, along with the swirling questions about what the US stands to gain from what Secretary Kerry described as “unbelievably small” action against Assad, could mark a tide-turning moment in this conversation. It's one that gives the president a viable out from his prior commitment to act if Assad crossed a red line and used chemical weapons. When his loyalists are not just asking but many seemingly demanding that he find another way, Obama must consider their caution strongly.

And if these liberals aren’t enough to shift the president off his initial stance, perhaps his wife’s posture might do the trick.


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