WASHINGTON, D.C. — Calling President Obama’s Syria speech “unconvincing,” U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson said he would rather see American military might brought to bear against Iran.
“I was really struck by the fact that the president of the United States used his address to convince the American people of the benefits of a strike that he is no longer advocating for,” Hudson said of the Tuesday evening national address.
Hudson announced last week that he does not support a strike against Syria.
In Tuesday’s speech, Obama called for the postponement of a congressional vote on the use of force against Syria, and said that the administration would continue pursuing diplomacy.
Citing a recent gas attack by the Syrian government that killed “over a thousand people,” the president also made his case for a limited strike against the chemical weapons facilities of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
“When with modest effort and risk we can stop children from being gassed to death and thereby make our own children safer over the long run, I believe we should act,” Obama said.
“It was a good speech. He’s good at that,” Hudson said Wednesday. “He appealed to the emotions of the American people … But he created more questions than he answered.”
Left unclear by the president, Hudson said, was the Syrian “end game.”
“What is our national interest here? What’s the strategy? What’s the end game? There are so many questions,” Hudson said. “Before we commit American men and women, we have to have a strategy.”
The congressman called Obama’s handling of the Syrian situation “bizarre from the beginning.”
“First he announces that Assad is this great evil, then he plays golf and leaves the country for a week, waiting until Tuesday evening to address the nation,” Hudson said, referring to the president’s weekend golf outing and his visit to St. Petersburg, Russia, for the G20 summit.
“Again last night the president started out comparing Assad to Hitler,” he said. “Is this really an evil equivalent to Hitler? If so, why?”
If Assad is as evil as the president has suggested, Hudson said that the international community would be more willing to assist in the intervention.
“And I think the American people would rally behind it,” he said.
Hudson said Obama has his eye on the wrong ball.
“That’s the most compelling argument here — the message that we send to Iran. I don’t lose sleep thinking about Syria, but I do thinking about a nuclear Iran,” he said. “What has been described as a ‘pin prick’ strike doesn’t send much of a message.”
Hudson said that he would “support using our military to eliminate Iran’s nuclear facilities” immediately.
“Of course, what would be better is if Iran believed we would do it,” he said. “Then we wouldn’t have to. We need to make them know for darn certain that the commander-in-chief will use the American military to take out their nuclear facilities.”
Hudson blamed Obama for failing to outline a Middle East strategy.
“Iran has already sized up this president and they don’t think he has the resolve to do something about their move toward nuclear weapons,” Hudson said. “The-commander-in-chief is supposed to lay out a very clear foreign policy and Middle East plan.
“Our commander-in-chief has been arrogant, feckless and ineffective in his foreign policy.”
Israeli leaders are also concerned about the president’s leadership, according to Hudson.
“I was just in Israel in August, and (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu said that he is very concerned,” he said.
After “hours of classified briefings,” Hudson said that he is “not sure if” the Obama administration’s proof that Syria used chemical weapons on its own people “would stand up in court.”
“The case is not as ironclad as has been suggested … but I do accept that Assad’s regime used (chemical weapons),” he said.
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