Sunday, September 08, 2013

McCain gets some of his own medicine

Syrian woman rips into John McCain at town hall for his support for bombing Syria. The U tube video was sent in by Mikhael. Meanwhile Jonathan sent us this note from Winslow Wheeler who attended Wednesday's discussion at the Foreign Relations Committee:

By a vote of 10-7-1(present) the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed its resolution to authorize air and naval strikes against Syria.  The committee adopted two amendments that expanded the scope of the authorized hostilities.  It adopted by a voice vote a McCain amendment to say that altering the balance on the battlefield in the civil war should be a goal of the authorized military operations.    This would be a huge expansion of the authorized military actions; however, McCain's amendment was to the relatively meaningless statement of purpose and policy of the draft bill, in its whereas clauses; so it is not clear what McCain thought he was achieving other than a rhetorical flourish--which is not uncommon in the Senate.  The committee also adopted a more meaningful Durbin amendment to expand the specifically authorized military activities to include to prevent the transfer of chemical weapons by al Assad to terrorist groups.

Durbin also offered an amendment to delete the broadly enabling word "respond," as in "to respond to the use of weapons of mass destruction by the Syrian government in the conflict in Syria" in the key, enabling section of the draft statute.  Chairman Menendez recognized the import of this narrowing change and successfully lured Durbin into agreement to withhold his amendment pending some sort of negotiation with Menendez, acting as front man for the administration.  Whatever is agreed to might be offered as a part of a manager's package of amendments at a later date.  Durbin's intent is sure to be watered down.

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