Homeland Security panel chief claims Obama trying to save face on Syria

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The head of the House Homeland Security Committee thinks that President Obama’s proposal to launch a military intervention in Syria will do little to strengthen the United States’ influence in the region.

“We always are concerned about our credibility,” Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday. “The problem is, I think, lobbing a few Tomahawk missiles will not restore our credibility overseas. It’s kind of a face-saving measure for the president after he drew the red line.” 


McCaul is among several House Republicans who have broken with party leadership to oppose Obama’s effort to get involved in Syria after President Bashar Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons.

Though Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) have endorsed the president's proposal, they are leaving the job of convincing fellow lawmakers to the White House.

McCaul warned on Sunday that American intervention would only lead to a prolonged conflict in the nation.

“Little wars start big wars,” he said.

Obama is facing an uphill battle to convince skeptical legislators on both sides of the aisle that it is in the country’s best interest to launch a military effort.

On "Meet the Press," Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) said that she does not believe that the country's civil war poses a threat to American citizens.

“I haven’t heard any of our interest. I haven’t heard that Assad wants to use chemical weapons against us,” she said.

According to The Hill’s Whip List, more than 130 members of the House are leaning against authorizing the use of force in Syria. 

In response to the skepticism, the White House has launched a full-court press to convince lawmakers and the Americans they represent that the United States should get involved.

Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.), who backs a strike but criticized the president’s effort to gain support, said that American allies are threatened by Assad’s strength.

“I do believe that there is a real axis between Syria and Iran,” he said, adding that Israel and Israel could be endangered by an emboldened Syrian regime.