Congressional Republicans were divided in their expressions of support or opposition, with many declining to comment until the administration communicates its actual battle plan for the attack. The top four House Republican leaders issued a joint statement Saturday praising Obama for going to Congress for support, but taking no position on the substance of the issue.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, a leading witch-hunter of Edward Snowden and other whistleblowers who have exposed illegal government surveillance and war crimes, called for approval of the resolution for war with Syria, warning that a vote "denying the President authority to respond with military force" would undermine the world position of the United States.
The calculations behind Obama's reversal of course and decision to seek congressional authorization are suggested in a front-page analysis in the New York Times, pointing to Obama's preparation for several unpopular, large-scale wars in the Middle East. It quotes an unnamed aide who was present at the meeting Friday night at the White House where Obama announced his decision.
"He had several reasons, he told them, including a sense of isolation after the terrible setback in the British Parliament. But the most compelling one may have been that acting alone would undercut him if in the next three years he needed Congressional authority for his next military confrontation in the Middle East, perhaps with Iran.
"If he made the decision to strike Syria without Congress now, he said, would he get Congress when he really needed it?"
There are already reports that the British government will seek a second vote in Parliament if the US Congress votes to authorize attacks on Syria. "It opens a very important new opportunity," Malcolm Rifkind, chairman of the parliamentary intelligence committee and a former defense secretary, told the BBC.
The Wall Street Journal reports intensive contingency planning between the US, Turkey, Jordan and the Syrian rebels on a possible collapse of the Assad regime within 24 hours of air strikes, suggesting that the attack will be far more intense and far-reaching than the one currently suggested by the White House.
1 | 2