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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Senator Bob Corker: Action Is ‘Imminent’ In Syria

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,  is pictured April 2, 2013. (Kristin M. Hall/AP)

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is pictured April 2, 2013. (Kristin M. Hall/AP)

There are now four United States Navy destroyers positioned in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea — each equipped to fire cruise missiles at targets up to 1,500 miles away.

In a speech yesterday, Secretary of State John Kerry called the use of chemical weapons on Syrian civilians “a moral obscenity,” signaling a toughening stance by the Obama administration on the Assad regime.

I would prefer that we would come back and take ownership over this, because that’s the responsible thing for Congress to do.

– Sen. Bob Corker

U.S. Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told Here & Now he believes U.S. military intervention in Syria is “imminent.”

“I don’t think there’s any way our Secretary of State could have made the kind of speech that was made yesterday, talking about all that has happened there — and the way that he did — and us not take action there,” Corker said. “I do think it’s imminent, and I think it’s going to be happening in a very short period of time.”

Corker said President Obama has been given several options for military intervention, and is still considering them. He hopes the president will seek authorization from Congress before acting, but notes that it’s not required under the War Powers Act.

“I think it would be much better, since we know this action is going to occur, and since there’s not an immediacy if you will — we’ve got a few days, the president is building support among NATO allies and Arab world leaders — I would prefer that we would come back and take ownership over this, because that’s the responsible thing for Congress to do,” Corker said.

Corker supports the U.S. providing support and equipment to “vetted moderates,” in Syria, but opposes any deployment of U.S. forces to Syria.

“I do hope, as I’ve said several times, that what we do is surgical, it’s proportionate to what has happened,” Corker said. “But what I do not want to see us do is involve ourselves in a civil war.”

He also expects the Obama administration to declassify intelligence on Syria before any strike, “so that the American people have the opportunity themselves to know what the administration knows.”

Guest

  • Bob Corker, U.S. Senator for Tennessee and ranking Republican on Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He tweets @SenBobCorker.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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