Rep Scott DesJarlais (TN-04) on Syria and POTUS Force Request

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Scott DesJarlaisScott DesJarlais represents Americans in what is euphemistically referred to as “fly over country;” Progressives “fly over” it on their way from the Liberal elite East Coast to the Limousine Liberal West Coast. As such, the views of Tennesseans in his district are likely more indicative of the mood of the people than the statements being released from the White House and the Obama administration.

Representative DesJarlais took time from his schedule to talk to me today about the views of ordinary Americans on the subject of Syria and US intervention there.

While our conversation touched on any number of topics, there were several that stood out.

The most notable is that DesJarlais reports, as do so many members of the House, that his constituents are “overwhelmingly” opposed to the use of force in Syria. They certainly don’t want US troops on the ground there fighting either alongside Assad’s troops against Al-Qaeda or alongside Al-Qaeda against anyone …

Chief among the objections of his constituents is the notion that we know enough about what actually happened on the ground in Syria. DesJarlais asked, “If the case [for intervention] is so clear, why are so many dubious?”

The questions abound. There are no solid answers. The only things known for sure are that chemical weapons were used and some Syrian civilians died as a result. But whether it was a deliberate attack by Assad’s military or an accident by rebels tinkering with chemical shells has yet to be determined. Whether 300 or so civilians were killed by poison gas or whether it was almost 1500 is unknown. It’s unclear whether all the dead, whatever their number, were killed by gas as opposed to the myriad other ways Syria’s citizens are dying as they are caught in the crossfire.

Which begs the question of timing. DesJarlais asked, “Why is the President doing this now? Why is there a red line to be crossed now?” CNN reports:

More than 100,000 people have died in the conflict, which has raged for more than two years.

There have been massacres. Populated areas have been bombed. Blasts have targeted people lining up for food at bakeries. People have been decapitated.

Why is it only now that chemical weapons may have been used that a “red line” has been crossed necessitating a US military response? Not to diminish the horror of deploying chemical weapons. But surely at least some of  the things done in Syria to produce the death of over 100,000 human beings rise to a similar level. Why are we talking about punishing the Syrian government only now?

The method President Obama has said would be employed is equally troubling. Targeted missile strikes. The stated purpose is to punish Syria, not to drive Assad from power. But there is a huge potential for trouble there. DesJarlais notes, “Terms like precision or surgical strikes are misleading. These are hugely destructive weapons. There is always the chance, and often the reality, of collateral damage. In addition, our attack may put our ally Israel at risk of attack. To say nothing of how Russia or others may respond.”

Boiled down, the US is going to respond to missile payloads killing civilians with missile payloads which have a distinct possibility of killing civilians. Congressman DesJarlais pointed to President Obama’s recent policy of traveling around the world, particularly the Arab world, and apologizing for exactly the same sort of actions taken by other American Presidents. Which makes the president’s idea more than a little ironic.

At least the President is finally coming to Congress to  get approval. It doesn’t look particularly good for him. While there are many Senators on the record as supporting the idea, there are few in the House. DesJarlais certainly isn’t supporting the President. He said,

I have yet to see a compelling reason to commit American forces for a situation where our choices are either Bashar al-Assad or Hezbollah, al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood and the myriad of other extremist jihadist groups that make up the Syrian rebels. None of those groups deserve any of our support, either directly or indirectly.

Even with some support for the president, there are problems. While the Senate Foreign Relations Committee did pass the resolution out of committee today, it was a deeply split vote; 10-7 with one Senator voting merely “Present.” The measure goes to the full Senate next week. Even if it passes there, the real obstacle is the House of Representatives and congressmen like Scott DesJarlais.

For his part, DesJarlais welcomed the President submitting his plan to Congress.  He has heard his district and done his homework. He has attended the briefings and heard the testimony. Now it’s time for the President to make his case in a thoughtful manner. Then Congress can speak.


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  1. Kakarot says

    On a marginally related note, I got the new Action survey from the cheerful folks at Organizing for Action the other day. Not one mention of Syria, anywhere on the survey.

    Looks almost like even the “Obama for Messiah” committee isn’t even interested in messing in Syria.

  2. omega2 says

    HELL NO WE WONT GO, should be the call by the MILITARY LEADERS as they can refuse to carry out ILLEGAL ORDERS PER SAY THE MILITARY CODE OF JUSTICE!

    1. Guest says

      yes.. they can be held criminally ACCOUNTABLE for following ILLEGAL orders too.. mmm interesting… would that not be funny to watch the military from top down refuse to do what he is trying to make happen illegally.. many times the excuse of “i was just following orders” has been used and still the person is held accountable for their actions while following the illegal orders. I think the driven in training about following orders may be a problem as they will think its legal due to exec order to do it.. but if the exec order is done illegally .. seems the big heads of the military would know to not create a situtation where entire groups of military could be held accountable.. time will tell… obummer seems determined even after all the Congress and Reps and We the People and even other countries and UN all disagree with us doing anything.. his EGO and determination may make him go ahead with orders of force and he will try to candy coat it with some title besides an act of war.. to make it seem legal.. scary..

  3. daveveselenak says

    Folks, this Muslim-Marxist jihadist, NWO puppet, new Hitler and his “Demon-crat” minions are the enemy of “US”, how any sane thinking individual can not discern this is beyond me! All of AMERIKA should start uniting and chiming in on this truth! HEY NSA, screw you, got that!

  4. 1baronrichsnot1 says

    Let the senate foriegn relations committee go over to syria, and just go ahead and do what they want to..they have my permission, a word of warning don’t let the al queda led opposition know you are christian, they kill them and burn down their churches! Of course these boistards don’ t believe in anything except themselves, if it produces profit for them, then it’s ok!

  5. marcus J says

    A Reasonable Politician ??? A Rare thing indeed , I have read and have heard that in some districts our So Called Representatives are receiving phone calls and faxes something like 499-1 against any Military Intervention , Even if Congress approves of this Terrible Idea of helping Al Qaeda ,The Muslim Brotherhood and various other Radical Islamic terrorist Jihadi`s it would still be considered an illegal play by International law

  6. grassroot says

    Kabuki theater, big enough to obfuscate all his ” other” illegal actions.

  7. Kent2012 says

    The truth does not concern the african pretender, unless of course, it is about his lies….No, kenyan boy is hurrying to cover the Benghazi debacle and help his sheet head buddies in the bro hood….

  8. Red47 pffft says

    It has to be said: this is the only logical course of action for a group of people who have been subjected to chemical warfare…bomb the survivors. Targeted means civilians in the Middle East. Those fighters hide behind women and children.

    1. grassroot says

      Unless Assad is taken out and Iran’s nuclear capabilities are nullified,
      all else is going to escalate the situation. This is kabuki theater as usual.

      1. Red47 pffft says

        Who are we to take Assad out.

        1. bayman61 says

          Exactly. Saudi Arabia said they will support us if we attack Syria. I say let THEM go after Syria and we will have THEIR back.

          1. Red47 pffft says

            Kerry said the Saudis would pay us if we went to war. That would make us mercenaries. This is truly a weird world in which we live..

  9. Kioga says

    The President is doing this now because too many of his lies are under investigation, his treachery to America is being peeled open, Americans are gaining forces to call for his impeachment, Benghazi won’t be forgotten, Obamacare is a defunct, unworkable waste, NSA,IRS,CIA,Military,NDAA, Exec. Orders, and about a million other deceptive and Unconstitutional mandates, and regulations are coming to light and he’s not got his escape route solidified yet, and a good portion of Americans are finally getting pissed, coming aware, and asking questions that can’t be answered on a teleprompter quick enough. He’s losing respect Internationally, and can’t keep his lies straight here or abroad. It is a ruse and he will not get away with it !

  10. lonnie_valentine says

    Could this be a way for obama to have Isreal taken out via retribution for UA attacking Syria? It is known that obama is not their friend.

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