Franken, Klobuchar: Chemical weapons use must have consequences

Minnesota’s U.S. Senators are weighing in on a possible American military strike in Syria.

DFL Sen. Al Franken said he does not think the Obama administration needs congressional approval to launch a strike.  He said there is little doubt that Syria’s Assad regime was behind chemical weapons attacks in the country.

Franken called the use of chemical weapons a violation of international norms that must have consequences.

“This cannot be allowed to stand,” he said in an interview. “Now, this again is not about another land war in the Middle East. This is about a strike that is going to either use cruise missiles or bombers, so this is not about U.S. troops on the ground.”

DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar issued a brief statement that was less specific about a military response.

“The reports of chemical weapons attacks on innocent civilians are horrifying and cannot be tolerated,” Klobuchar said.  “An international response is needed to prevent these atrocities from continuing. I met with the Syrian rebels and refugees this spring and believe we must work with our allies to build a strong coalition of support for any action taken to protect the Syrian people.”

Franken said the Obama administration has been consulting appropriate members of Congress as it prepares a potential response to Syria. He also said he expected the administration to release proof of claims that the Assad regime used chemical weapons.

He said he does not believe the U.S. needs the approval of the United Nations to proceed.

“We’ve  done things before without the U.N., but this will have as much international support as the administration can muster and I’m sure there will be a lot of international support,” Franken said.

  • Sandy Burge

    This is about another land war in the Middle East. BS.

  • KTN

    The President may not need the approval of the U.N. but he certainly needs the Congress to approve. The ability to declare war is distinctly under the powers of Congress, not the President, but that has not stopped former Presidents from bypassing Congress to start a war(George Bush, I’m looking at you too).

    Reagan and Clinton used conflicts that were ongoing and were a threat to the U.S. to involve our troops in a very limited manner, but Syria has not attacked the U.S., nor is it likely they will, so if the Pres does commit troops he will be violating the Constitution: Art 1, Sec8, Clause 12.
    Yes, something ought to be done in light of the Assad regime using poison gas on it’s own citizens, but an attack by the U.S. absent Congress authorizing such an attack is not the way to go

    • Lanny Stricherz

      “in light of the Assad regime using poison gas on it’s own citizens,” Neither you nor anyone in the US has seen any evidence that Assad did this ghastly deed.
      When this whole thing started more than two years ago it was a peaceful demonstration and Assad had 55% approval rating. Then the jihadists many from outside Syria got involved and the killing started. Recently another poll was taken and Assad had 70% approval rating the rebels 10%. Recently the tables have been turned and the Syrian Army has been defeating the rebels on a daily basis.
      So I ask you as I have asked the President? Who gains from gassing the Syrian people? Certainly not Assad, but the rebels sure would if they can get us involved in overthrowing the Assad regime.

  • MinnesotaCentral

    There is a letter circulating with well over 30 House Members – Republicans and Democrats – asking for President Obama to call them back into session — “We stand ready to come back into session, consider the facts before us, and share the burden of decisions made regarding U.S. involvement in the quickly escalating Syrian conflict.”

    OK … this brings up the interesting question that lower Federal Courts ruled that President Obama could not make recess appointments to the NLRB because Congress said they were not in technical recess … well, now, they seem to be saying that President Obama must call them back into session for this. Really, shouldn’t Speaker Boehner call them back into session and debate this ?
    Second, on July 7, 2011 on Roll Call 513, the House with Michelle Bachmann, John Kline, Erik Paulsen, and Collin Peterson in agreement essentially condemning President Obama for his actions in Libya … of course, that was after the fact … will MPR be contacting these Representatives to see if they will be joining their colleagues requesting a vote on Syria ?

  • Hugh Shakeshaft

    If Franken thinks it’s such a clear cut case, then why not put the decision before congress?