Secretary of State John KerryJohn KerryEgypt’s death squads and America's deafening silence With help from US, transformative change in Iran is within reach Ellison comments on Obama criticized as 'a stupid thing to say' MORE warned House Democrats that they face a "Munich moment" in deciding whether to approve the use of military force in Syria.
According to reports, Kerry told 127 Democrats on a 70-minute conference call on Monday that they face a situation reminiscent to the 1938 Munich Pact between Adolf Hitler and British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, which was subsequently seen as a failed act of appeasement that preceded the Second World War.
President Obama said Saturday that while he believes there's a need for military engagement in Syria to respond to the government's use of chemical weapons against its own people, he'll seek congressional approval first.
But Congress, and the American people, remains split over the prospect of a military attack. The White House has begun what one administration official referred to as a "flood the zone" strategy to move congressional opinion in favor of strikes, and the Monday phone call was one aspect of that strategy.
According to NBC News, the administration officials were met with a skeptical audience, with Rep. Rick Nolan (D-Minn.) accusing the administration of "historic amnesia" and comparing Syria to the Vietnam War, a conflict that took tens of thousands of American lives and was widely seen as a failure on the part of the U.S. military.
Other members on the call, notably House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), defended the administration's position.
Congress isn't expected to vote on a resolution to approve military force until next week, when the five-week recess ends. In the meantime, Hagel and Kerry will again have the opportunity to make their case to lawmakers at House and Senate hearings this week.