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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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