Levin chides GOP for turning Syria deal into 'ice skating contest'

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Levin, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, took direct aim at his Michigan colleague, Rep. Mike Rogers (R.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

Levin accused Rogers of contradicting previous statements initially calling on the president to get Russia involved and yet now questioning whether that was the right decision.

“What I do not understand is why some of the same voices that called for Russia to end its obstructionism now criticism the president for getting Russia involved,” Levin said.

Earlier this month, the administration announced that an agreement was reached with Russia and Syria to get Syrian President Bashar Assad to hand over his chemical weapons stockpiles over to the international community. 

Assad is accused of using chemical weapons against his own people, which prompted Obama to call for congressional authority to use force against Syria. Before Congress took that vote, Assad said he would agree to a diplomatic solution, but Levin warned that America could still use force if the deal falls through.

“The president has made it clear — and rightfully so — that if diplomacy fails, the United States is ready to act,” Levin said. “This agreement in no way limits President Obama’s option to use force if it becomes necessary. … Why would those who believe that the threat of force is essential to keeping pressure on Syria and Russia say it is no longer available?”

Republicans were quick to criticize the president's handling of the situation, saying he announced the attack plan to the enemy and should have made the case for use of force to the American people.