WASHINGTON, D.C. — Third District Congressman Nick Rahall (D-WV) says he thinks a limited U.S. military strike on Syria is appropriate.

Courtesy photo

Congressman Nick Rahall (D-WV) said a U.S. strike on Syria would send a message to that country and others.

“It has to be a surgical strike.  It has to be a penetrating strike at the sites of high value from which this chemical warfare was launched.  It has to be very limited in scope with no boots on the ground,” said Rahall on Wednesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

Reports on Wednesday indicated U.S. officials were still working to design a military strike to deter future chemical weapons attacks in Syria as assessments of the possible response from Syrian President Bashar Assad to such a strike also continued.

By many accounts, U.S. officials would likely utilize cruise missiles from U.S. Navy destroyers off the Syrian coast in any response.

“I think it sends a message that the U.S. credibility, once it has been stated and once our position has clearly been drawn in the sand, if you want to use that term, or red line, or whatever terms that are out there that the President has already used, that we back it up with our actions,” said Rahall.

He said, if President Obama decides to authorize a strike, he will have to make the case for it to Congress, the United Nations and the American people.

Also on Wednesday, Prime Minister David Cameron said Britain would propose a resolution at the United Nations blaming Syrian authorities for the chemical weapons attack an authorizing “all necessary measures” to protect civilians.

Hundreds of Syrian citizens were killed in an August 21 chemical attack and the Syrian government was the suspected source of the chemical weapons.  The civil war in Syria has been going on for two years.

Syria’s allies, China and Russia, have issued warnings against military intervention in Syria.

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Comments

  • Alice Click

    I agree with Gary Bauer: Getting Serious With Syria?

    A confrontation with Syria appears inevitable. Here's what has happened in the past 24 hours:

    Yesterday Secretary of State John Kerry held a press conference and declared that the Assad regime had in fact used chemical weapons, crossing Barack Obama's "red line." Kerry called the use of such weapons "a moral obscenity" that was "inexcusable and undeniable."

    According to the Washington Post, U.S. naval assets in the eastern Mediterranean Sea are "already positioned" for cruise missile attacks. British jets are scrambling on Cyprus. Reuters reports that Syrian rebel groups have been told to "expect a strike against President Bashar al-Assad's forces within days."

    Russia, China and Iran warned against military action. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that "the use of force without a sanction of the U.N. Security Council is a crude violation of the international law." So much for Hillary's famous "reset" of U.S./Russian relations.

    One Iranian military commander predicted nothing would happen. Mohammad Reza Naqdi said, "[The Americans] are incapable of starting a new war in the region, because of their lacking economic capabilities and their lack of morale." Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Islamic Republic of Iran threatened Israel, warning that an attack on Syria would have "perilous consequences" that "will not be restricted to Syria."

    The Israeli government is taking such threats seriously. It has begun distributing gas masks to the public, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to "respond forcefully" to any attack against his country.

    The American public and conservatives are deeply conflicted about the proper course of action. A Rasmussen poll released yesterday found that only 31% of voters supported increased military assistance, even "if it is confirmed that the Syrian government used chemical weapons." Part of it is war weariness.

    Some is also due to the failure of Obama to regularly explain what our national interests are in the Middle East. And make no mistake about it -- we have significant interests in the Middle East.

    Another problem is the difficulty in identifying the good guys in Syria's civil war. Israeli intelligence estimates there are as many as 90 groups battling the Assad regime. They range from a few pro-Western groups to Al Qaeda extremists. It is hard to see a good outcome in this mess.

    But in the broader context of American power and credibility, here is our dilemma: Obama set a red line. Assad crossed it. Iran is egging him on, providing military assistance and watching to see if Washington has any credibility when it issues an ultimatum.

    If the Middle East can't trust Obama to act against the Syrian government when it crosses a red line of chemical weapons, why would it believe him when he says he will not allow the mullahs in Tehran to have nuclear weapons?

    Even the New York Times gets it. Yesterday, the Times editorial board wrote:

    "Mr. Obama put his credibility on the line when he declared last August that Mr. Assad's use of chemical weapons would constitute a 'red line' that would compel an American response. …Presidents should not make a habit of drawing red lines in public, but if they do, they had best follow through. Many countries (including Iran, which Mr. Obama has often said won't be permitted to have a nuclear weapon) will be watching."

    I doubt if anybody reading this report is an Obama fan. But America is stuck with him, and if he continues to be weak our national security will be in jeopardy long after he is gone.

    That is why I joined with other conservative leaders yesterday in urging Obama to act, and asking for increased efforts to identify who, if anyone in the Syrian opposition, would be worthy of American assistance.

    By the way, it is infuriating to hear Obama suggest he needs U.N. approval or international cooperation. The only thing he needs is the approval of Congress, which he did not seek when he committed U.S. forces to overthrowing former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

    On that point, there is some division among conservatives. I believe the president, as commander-in-chief, has the authority to initiate military action in defense of U.S. interests in emergency situations. Surely the president has the authority to respond to an attack or to prevent an attack on U.S. citizens.

    But while a military response to Assad's use of chemical weapons in Syria may well be justified, it does not rise the level of an attack against America that would permit Obama to act on his own. There is no reason, as the world debates, why Congress should not be part of this discussion. George W. Bush sought and received congressional approval to take military action against Saddam Hussein. Barack Obama should seek congressional approval to act against Bashar al-Assad.

    Beyond this immediate crisis, the larger question we face is: What will be left of our economy, our values and our foreign policy credibility after three more years of Obama's failures?

  • CaptainQ

    When Rahall speaks, does anyone listen?

  • Hillbilly

    NO - NO - NO!

    And vote this jerk out of there.

  • Mike

    This is a joke. I for one am tired of policing other countries that have been at war with each other since biblical times. We are not going to solve the problem. We have enough issues of our own here in this country. Here is a little thought from a backwoods country boy. Take care of our problems instead of spending a trillion dollars to get involved in something that is no concern of ours. Divide the trillion dollars up and send each American citizen his share or how about pay off some debt we already have. This country is in shambles. Thomas Jefferson said it best when he said the government needs over thrown every 50-75 years to stop the corruption and demise of America.

    • Tim

      You should run for office!!
      Great stuff!!

  • Harpers Ferry

    If you know your history, you would know that Democrats LOVE War. Truth is a stubborn thing. Libs, I know you will say Bush I & II, but I give you Wilson, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Clinton, and now Obama. Thank you Libs for electing us the man that brings about World War III.

    • NorthernWVman

      all because he said don't cross this line or else......

  • PMQ

    Hey Hoppy, way to hold Rahall's feet to the fire, not! This guy is a joke. If your questions, or lack thereof, to Rahall and Manchin get any softer.....please serve them cookies and milk next time. Don't know why your questioning is so soft, maybe you are afraid if you act like a real journalist, they might not come on your show. Sad.

  • Shawn

    The bigger worry here is what will Russia and China do when we strike. They can destroy us without firing a shot.

    • Stephen

      How do you get that?

      • Chuck

        They own us. All china has to do is say PAY UP!

      • Scooter

        Since Shawn didn't respond, I will. My friend, We (U.S.) have indebted ourselves so deeply to these countries, simply by calling in their debts, they will cripple our financial system thereby rendering us helpless. Our demise will come without the firing of one shot. May God have mercy on The United States of America.

  • FungoJoe

    Remember when in 2003 that Rahall and the uber-liberal Dennis Kucinich were begging for a meeting with Saddam in Iraq just a few weeks prior to the March invasion??
    What was that all about?? Rahall has NEVER explained those actions.

    • Joe Cool

      He was trying to get the key to Detroit back.

  • Matt

    Thanks WV goofs for voting for this idiot every time.

  • Tim

    Why is THE UNITED STATES the MORAL POLICE for these Middle easterners who cant even get along with themselves...I SAY.....let them alone...THEY FIGURE IT OUT!!!!!

  • steve

    Lets get these sorries out of office--this may be the beginning of the fall of our Nation...Im voting straignt republican this next election

  • tw eagle

    there was a possible chemical attack in February of this year , and it took until mid august to get the authorization for a UN team to enter Syria and inspect the area that was reported to have been the site of chemical use . . .why would the Syrians have waited till the UN had an inspection team in country to use chemicals again . . . seems like the 'gulf of tonkin' again . . .
    the USA manufacturing a reason to get militarily involved in an area it has no
    business meddling in . . .even if the military doesn't "shoot" , they have sabotaged the
    worlds economic markets and driven up the price of oil . . .

  • Dave R.

    remember when rahall bashed bush.........lol,, cake and eat it too right DEMOCRATS?
    .

  • FungoJoe

    Rahall is an absolute idiot. Any worries about any retalitory strikes from your buddies in Hezbollah, eh Mr. Rahall???

  • RDC

    Rahall you hack. How many people do you want to kill in your penetrating strike? Will 10 be enough or do we need 100s? You don't even know which side used the chemicals. Just following your ruler.