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Sounds like Senator Al Franken (D. MN) is having some second thoughts about limited military action against Syria:

U.S. Sen. Al Franken said he is concerned that current proposals for U.S. military strikes in Syria are "too broad," days after indicating that he was leaning toward support of a Senate resolution authorizing action.

In a statement released today, the Minnesota senator said that he's concerned that plans for military action in the region could lead to U.S. involvement in a broader conflict.

"Over the last several days, I've studied the resolution passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and I am concerned that its scope is too broad," Franken said. "With the President scheduled to meet with members of the Senate and to address the nation tonight, I urge him to explain how the United States will deal with the risks and unintended consequences of a possible attack and how we will avoid getting mired in a broader conflict."

Last week, Franken said he was leaning toward supporting the Senate resolution.

"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 U.S. Senate," Franken said today. - Star Tribune, 9/10/13

I can't blame Al for starting to have a change of heart, especially with the details of the new resolution being drafted:

Accordingly, yet another “Gang of 8” senators is crafting a resolution more in line with the new dynamic. It would, in practice, supplant the resolution passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week, which was already losing momentum. (Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday he would not support it, as did a raft of other senators, from Rob Portman to Ed Markey.)

The new “Gang” bill, according to news reports, would authorize US military force in Syria if the Security Council can’t pass a workable resolution, or if Syria fails to comply with it. The New York Times reported the details are “far from complete.”

In theory, this sounds good—it’s roughly similar to a compromise floated by Senator Joe Manchin last week; both would give Syria an opportunity to comply with international chemical weapons bans before military action occurs.

But Manchin’s bill was short and direct, and tried to force a number of safeguards that would limit the chances of military action, including a strategic plan from the White House with specific benchmarks.

A quick look at the gang working on the new Senate bill would indicate the new resolution is unlikely to be similarly limited. The members are, according to the Times: Republican Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Kelly Ayotte and Saxby Chambliss, along with Democratic Senators Carl Levin, Charles E. Schumer and Chris Coons. Senator Bob Menendez chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, is reportedly “in consultations” with the group.

Notably, while some remained uncommitted on intervention, like Ayotte, no members of the group oppose it. And some, like McCain and Graham, are extreme hawks on the issue, and favor all-out regime change, not just limiting chemical weapons use. - The Nation, 9/10/13

And the more details Franken hears about the resolution, it counds like he has some serious concerns:

When it comes to lobbying Congress and the public to back his plans in Syria, Tuesday was perhaps President Obama’s busiest day yet.

First he spent more than two hours at the Capitol meeting with senators to make his case. In the evening, Obama went on television to pitch his plan to the country. With support for a military strike dwindling both in Congress and in the public, lawmakers on both sides of the issue said it’s more important than ever that Obama justify why there should be an attack on Syria if an emerging diplomatic solution fails.

“With the president scheduled to meet with members of the Senate and to address the nation tonight,” Sen. Al Franken, who has backed a narrow military strike in Syria, said early Tuesday, “I urge him to explain how the United States will deal with the risks and unintended consequences of a possible attack and how we will avoid getting mired in a broader conflict.” - Minn Post, 9/11/13

I think this is an encouraging sign that Franken might be changing his mind on this but of course he needs to keep hearing from you.  Please do contact Senator Franken's office and let him know what you think:

(202) 224-5641

And while you're at it, please keep calling your Senator and Congressman.



Originally posted to pdc on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 12:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raptavio, CroneWit

    Funny Stuff at

    by poopdogcomedy on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 12:00:18 PM PDT

  •  Manchin's plan was simply unworkable (0+ / 0-)

    You cant pause in the midst of an engagement to wait on asking what the US Senate says youre allowed to do next. During normal business hours M-F of course.

    •  If only they did work even (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "normal" business hours M-F.  They aren't there that much. Nine days this month. Nine.freaking.days.  

      The thing about democracy, beloveds, is that it is not neat, orderly, or quiet. It requires a certain relish for confusion. Molly Ivins

      by MufsMom on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 01:17:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Al is very deliberative. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    poopdogcomedy, zestyann

    He doesn't operate in sound bites, he doesn't operate in simplistic paradigms. He considers the long term, the possibilities, the risks.

    This is what makes him a good Senator.

    "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

    by raptavio on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 12:41:10 PM PDT

    •  I'd guess it has more to do with that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      poll at Walz's town meeting, 150-0 unanimously opposed to war in Syria.  

      Minnesota does not want war.  Keith may think he's got such a margin that he doesn't have to worry about voter opposition, but, oh, my that is not the case out state.  I mean even Paulsen knows it's not popular in the 3rd district.  

      •  I doubt it. (0+ / 0-)

        Al listens to his constituents, sure, but he doesn't let a single town hall sway him, especially one from a single, fairly conservative district.

        "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

        by raptavio on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 01:31:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  A district held by a Democrat (0+ / 0-)

          and Colin Peterson is facing the same kind of opposition in MN-7.   I mean yeah, mean old war hawk Kline supports the war but he supports bombing anybody.  That's who is on Al's side.  

          I have certainly told Al that I STRONGLY oppose it.  

          It really makes me so angry that when the Iraq Resolution was proposed I had both Senators and my Congressman opposing war.  I always felt so good about that knowing that none of the people I voted for voted for Iraq.  Now, they are all on the WRONG side but Minnesota is even less in favor of war than it was for Iraq.

          Al needs to have a Wellstone moment and learn about Senators who have the guts to vote against war even when they are up for reelection because voting against Iraq was a lot harder for Wellstone than voting against Syria is for Al.  

          •  And of course (0+ / 0-)

            the Iraq resolution was far more expansive and open-ended than the Syria war resolution would be for Al.

            And the AUMF of 2001 was even more expansive and authority-ceding -- and that passed 98-0. The two abstentions were Jesse Helms and Larry Craig. Wellstone voted for that one.

            Wellstone was a damn fine public servant but not perfect (he also voted for the PATRIOT act -- for which I took him to task in what was, sadly, my last conversation with him); let's not use his memory to beat Al over the head.

            "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

            by raptavio on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 02:44:19 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well then I'll just beat him up directly because (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              I strongly oppose his position on Syria and his tepid pushback on NSA.  He seems to be controlled by Schumer or whoever tells Al and Amy who to represent because I don't think either one of them listens to anything their constituents want on intelligence and foreign policy

              •  See, (0+ / 0-)

                it's better when you state your position openly. No need to hide behind Wellstone's skirts.

                I'm glad you're more forthright. I find your position ludicrous, of course, but at least we understand each other.

                "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

                by raptavio on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 03:26:47 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  Like his president (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      We could certainly slow down the aging process if it had to work its way through Congress. Will Rogers

      by zestyann on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 02:07:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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