By Ramsey Cox
President Obama has asked for congressional support to use limited military strikes against Syrian President Bashar Assad, who is accused of using chemical weapons against his own people. Obama is expected to address the nation tomorrow evening to make his case for military force.
Mikulski admitted that most of her constituency opposes military action in Syria but said after attending every briefing on the topic that she would support the president’s resolution.
“My constituents have spoken loud and clear that they don’t want another military mission … they don’t want another war and nor do I,” Mikulski said. “[But] use of chemical weapons flies in the face of all international law and norms. It is an act that should have consequences.”
She also admitted that limited U.S. military strikes wouldn't stop Assad, but would deter the use of chemical weapons.
"I don’t believe this strike will stop Assad from being a ruthless dictator … but I do believe that it will deter and degrade his ability to use chemical weapons again," Mikulski said.
Mikulski, chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, called the decision “enormous and grave” and said it would be the “most serious vote” she could take.
“Once you vote to authorize the use of military might you cannot take it back,” Mikulski said. “Once you vote to take military action it is irrevocable.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) filed a motion to proceed to S. Res. 21, which passed on a 10-7 vote in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The Senate is expected to vote on whether to proceed to a debate on the resolution on Wednesday. It is unclear whether the motion to end debate on the Syria resolution will garner the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster; many senators have come out in opposition to the move, while others remain undecided.
The resolution would authorize a limited 60-day strike with the option to extend it an additional 30 days. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) amended the resolution by inserting language that would call for the administration to change the military equation in the country to help end the conflict.