Karen Handel: No To Strike On Syria

Karen Handel addressed the Cobb Young Republicans last evening and gave a fairly unequivocal statement on her position regarding a possible military strike on Syria.  Today, the campaign has released the following written statement:

The murders of so many innocent people by their own government are horrific and beyond reprehensible and must be condemned in the harshest possible terms.

President Obama has done the right thing in seeking congressional approval for his proposed actions.  However, the President’s lack of leadership and continued policy of leading from behind have largely left our country in this position. The President drew a line in the sand a year ago, and that line was crossed—with no response from the administration. Military action must be based on the national security interests and not on saving face for the President.

Based upon the information I have today, I would vote against authorizing military force in Syria. In determining the necessity of military action, the national security interests of the United States must be paramount, and there must be clearly defined and achievable goals and outcomes.

In my view, the President has yet to articulate a clearly defined scope of action and set of objectives for using military force in Syria.  The President has a responsibility to explain his rationale in the clearest of terms to the American people and their representatives in Congress.  This case has not been made, as evidenced by the overwhelming opposition of the American people. That’s why I would vote no.


  1. Jon Lester says:

    It’s about time. Jack Kingston needs to stop talking about which way he’s “leaning” and say an unequivocal “no.”

    I haven’t heard from Dr. Rad on this, but now’s the time to challenge Michelle Nunn to give a direct answer to a direct question.

    • rflymen says:

      I don’t think I want our elected officials making up their minds 100% before entering the debate over a difficult decision. Kind of defeats the purpose of the debate, no?

      It’s obviously a complicated situation. Even Handel said “Based upon the information I have today…” Read: I would vote no today, but there could be information unavailable to me that would sway me in the other direction– the kind of information that will be discussed when Congress gets back to “work” next week. That’s essentially the same thought as “Leaning no.”

      Both are reasoning correctly in this case.

      As for Michelle Nunn, she takes a risk saying anything strong here and allying herself with Obama.

      • Jon Lester says:

        How much thought does this Syria thing warrant? Even if the candidate isn’t governed by principles (which is a lot to ask these days), the political calculation should be closer to simple arithmetic on this one.

        • benevolus says:

          I’m sure I don’t know much about it all, but even I can say that this is pretty complicated:
          We strike Syria, what could happen?
          Iran (or somebody) strikes Israel. Bad outcome.
          Assad is weakened and is removed. Sunnis go on a rampage. Bad outcome.
          Russia retaliates by lobbing a few cruise missiles at, say, Jordan.
          China implements some sort of economic sanctions against us.
          Muslim Brotherhood gains power.

          I would just say it’s worth trying to get the ducks in a row before just reacting. There is no particular deadline here.

  2. Oec says:

    Let’s see if I understand. Handel says the President is right to go to Congress and that he needs to “articulate a … scope of action and set of objectives”, but if she was there, she wouldn’t listen to any of it because she’s made up her mind “based upon the information [she has] today.”

    Deciding important issues on the merits, after hearing all the facts and arguments, is such a waste of time. Better to just see which way the wind is blowing.

    • rflymen says:

      I took “based upon the information I have today” to mean “maybe there is information unavailable to me that changes the situation as I understand it.”

      That’s the right mind-set in my opinion (leaning one way but open to discussion), so maybe I’m just giving her too much credit.

  3. D_in_ATL says:

    As much as I disagree with these tea-party asshats; should Obama take it upon himself to bomb Syria against the will of Congress he should be impeached. Enough is enough.

    • seenbetrdayz says:

      it says a lot about the war-weariness in America when Code Pink and the Tea Party find common ground on foreign policy.

  4. xdog says:

    Gopers appear to be shuffling three options.

    1)Obama has let the situation deteriorate so badly that any intervention will be wasted. That’s good enough for Rubio and Ryan so I guess it’s good enough for Handel and other candidates.

    2)Obama doesn’t go far enough. McCain and Graham today. Tomorrow, who knows?

    3)We don’t support Obama because he’s the anti-Christ. House tp/gopers and talk show folks mainly.

    I would pay money to see a legitimate debate between goper interventionists and the isolationists.

      • xdog says:

        Yes, but as in most areas donk disagreements are muted compared to gopers. For example, there is no isolationist wing in the donk caucus, nor is there a ‘I’m agin it cause Obama’s for it’ bloc of obstructionists.

        To use your term, many pro-policemen on the goper side blame Obama for not putting troops on the ground months ago, while their donk counterparts want (or say they want) clear limits on engagement, strict target discipline, no troops. Despite my opposition to bombing Syria isos left or right are too doctrinaire for my taste plus I’d feel dirty agreeing with Ted Cruz on anything more complicated than the weather.

        Here’s a Pew poll from a couple days ago (things change quickly of course) that shows gopers more closely split than donks or indies. A real goper debate would be a great spectacle–they’re both more divided and more dug in than the other side.


  5. John Konop says:

    Well Said! Bottom-line what is the plan?

    …………In my view, the President has yet to articulate a clearly defined scope of action and set of objectives for using military force in Syria. The President has a responsibility to explain his rationale in the clearest of terms to the American people and their representatives in Congress. This case has not been made, as evidenced by the overwhelming opposition of the American people. That’s why I would vote no………..

  6. Noway says:

    The fact that the General at the table had no clue or could not articulate what the goal of the exercise may be is staggeringly embarrassing.

  7. Scott65 says:

    My knee jerk reaction was in agreement with Sarah Palin…let Allah sort it out, but then you see the pictures of the children that are in such pain and agony (if they are lucky enough to be alive) because of this evil. If we have the power to stop or at least disable Assad’s ability to kill children, do we not have an obligation to do so??? We dont live in a vacuum.

    • seenbetrdayz says:

      A long time ago, well about 4 decades ago, we helped a guy in Afghanistan fight evil commies and to make a long story short that guy later turned out to be the mastermind of a plot that killed a bunch of firefighters and office workers in NYC.

      Helping the kids may mean inadvertently empowering future terrorists. We may not live in a vacuum, but our choices suck. Pun intended.

  8. northside101 says:

    Getting involved in the Middle East is usually a fool’s errand, with few if any dividends….

    In 1941, Hitler send Rommel’s Panzer Corps to bail out the Italians in Libya, but at El Alamein, German hopes were crushed, the first signs in the western front of the war that the German Empire was falling. The Nazis lost hundreds of thousands (dead or captured) in their quest to bail out Mussolini…

    In 1953, the CIA helped depose the Iranian leader, and we got the autocratic Shah for 26 years, followed by Khomeni and Islamic fundamentalists…

    In 1956, Britain and France came out looking bad in the Suez crisis…

    In 1979, the Soviets went into Afghanistan, from which they eventually learned nearly 10 years later, it would be a good idea to get out of there.

    In 1983, the US lost 241 Marines in the infamous barracks bombing in Lebanon.

    In 1991, Bush did drive the Iraqis out of Kuwait—but he still lost re-election a year later.

    In 2003, Bush Jr. as we know went into Iraq, which contributed in large part to the Democratic takeover of Congress in 2006 (and from which we got Obamacare among other things)—and 10 years later, thousands still die in that country from bombings. Ask the few remaining Christians in Iraq whether they were better off when Saddam was in power…

    Oh, and now John Kerry says we cannot be “spectators to slaughter.” How ironic, coming from someone who invariably pleased NARAL, Planned Parenthood and the pro-choice forces with his Senate voting record. Hmm, how many abortions happen in this country each day? And how many of those are because of “hard cases” (rape, incest, life of the mother)? Pretty good bet more babies die from abortion each day than were killed by Assad’s gas weapons….

    • seenbetrdayz says:

      “Those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it. Those who DO know their history are doomed to stand by helplessly as others repeat it.”

      (okay I stole that from a meme, but it’s so true)

  9. KingRichard says:

    Decent Job by Karen Handel on that

    If Obama was a Republican President right now imagine the massive endless media ground and pound, and the; public, celebrity, Democrat, Liberal, Michael Moore outrage. Think of the mockery by by Jon Stewart and David Letterman. Blurred “Red” Lines, John “I was for it before I was against it”, bleeding heart ultra rich Liberal, preaching about war crimes in the Vietnam War, Kerry. – The irony seeign John Kerry up there on this is just astonishing. McCain and his same sex partner Lindsey Graham need to be quiet on this sick of hearing them.

    I can hear Assad now – “I said no more chems , we just got brand new machetes, get busy”.

    We are the brokest nation on earth can China spare a few Trillion?


      • KingRichard says:

        I liked the cologne part of the show, still need more endless mockery by comedians, Michael Moore protests, need more celebrity outrage as well, it just lacks a certain hatred at this point and is unequal to level of Bush frenzy, but let’s let it bake a bit longer shall we.

    • John Konop says:


      Do you agree with McCain, should we arm the rebels and move toward putting troops on the ground?

      ……..The Arizona Republican threatened earlier this week to vote against a White House draft resolution unless President Barack Obama promised greater support to Syria’s rebels. McCain then expressed support after meeting Obama at the White House.

      He now opposes a resolution crafted by Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee. It puts a 90-day limit on action and says no American troops can be sent into Syria.

      Asked if he supported it, McCain said, “In its current form, I do not.”………

      • KingRichard says:

        McCain the Maverick is terrible and I dislike him greatly he stands for nothing. I hate seeing his face on TV. I do not agree with the Maverick, I think we should do nothing in Syria, no bombs, no weapons, etc…

  10. pettifogger says:

    And the zen master said, we’ll see.

    Scores of people are slain by governments or regimes on a daily basis, and we’re focusing on Syria. Not that I don’t find the atrocities in Syria worthy of intervention, but our policies are too inconsistent and there is no sign of that changing. Arbitrary choices give us little cover for future choices, and make US involvement unpredictable.

    Not to be antiquated, but I think we need a revised American doctrine for intervention in humanitarian/democratic disputes. It would provide more clarity for Americans and foreign citizens seeking our involvement (or the avoidance of involvement). Could provide a rare opportunity for some sort of consensus among scholars, both parties, military leaders, etc. It is dumb to face the same question on a yearly basis and rehash the same arguments. It could be a bust like almost any similar government study/conference/whatever, but I have a hunch that with the appropriate pressure from the right places, it may actually be something worth doing. Moreover, it would serve the public well by eliminating/dampening hypocritical campaign arguments.

  11. Charlie says:

    And from Georgia’s 1st CD race:

    Savannah, GA – Dr. Bob Johnson conservative Republican candidate for Georgia’s First Congressional District released the following statement today:

    “I adamantly oppose any military action in Syria at this time. President Obama made a foolish and dangerous error by drawing a ‘red line’ and now our best argument for using our military and risking the lives of our servicemen and women is that we must help him save face? One of two outcomes is nearly certain if we attack; we engage in a limited action with no goal, no end game and no plan if the current regime falls, making us look foolish and weak, a la Somalia. Or we get dragged into a full-blown war. A proxy war of Shia/Alawite vs Sunni and the U.S. vs Russia. Neither outcome is good for America. It is not in our national interest to engage in a military strike or war with Syria at this time. If I were in serving in Congress today, I would vote NO on military action in Syria.”

    An Army veteran, Dr. Johnson served his country from 1975 until 2001, first as a U.S. Army Ranger, then as a physician assistant and medical platoon leader, and finally as a doctor. His son currently attends the Military Academy at West Point.

    • KingRichard says:

      I agree with this man. A “Blurred” Red “Line” at best but Obama did not say that of course. The man drew no red line. Obama = Teflon nothing is his responsibility, nothing is his doing.

  12. Bull Moose says:

    The “red line” that is being referenced in various comments was set by the Geneva Conventions in 1864, 1906, 1929, and 1949. The Geneva Conventions addresses the standards of international law for the humanitarian treatment of war. Regardless of your position as it relates to Syria, as it relates to the Geneva Conventions, it is a very dangerous and slippery slope as to what parts we start ignoring and allow to go unanswered on the international stage.

    It’s a complicated issue and one that is unfortunately now, being used to score political points.

    • John Konop says:

      In all due respect the ” red line” is also the same for genacide. We could end up fighting in a lot of countries, at the same time, via that concept. In Africa alone…….

    • Three Jack says:

      The red line is Obama’s statement. He did not refer to any Geneva Conventions, he tried to be a cowboy, but seriously failed and now we all are on the hook for his incompetence yet again – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avQKLRGRhPU

      Repeating dem soundbites does not erase the fact that this president seldom if ever takes responsibility for his actions. I used to ignore most of the zealot rants about him being dangerous to America, but I now see it happening with many GOPers failing to hold him accountable.

        • Three Jack says:

          John, I would do nothing because neither side in the Syria civil war warrants support from the U.S. The president stepped in it as he often does when not guided by his trusty teleprompter. It is not up to the rest of us as he implied 2 days ago to bail his ass out yet again.

      • Bull Moose says:

        Let me correct you right there @ThreeJack . I am not repeating anyones soundbites. My thoughts are my own and are formed based on my own understanding of international public policy. It’s a very complicated issue that requires a little bit more than a sound byte…

        I don’t know what decision I would make on this issue, but would definitely prefer to see it something addressed by a coalition and not unilateral action by the United States alone.

        • Three Jack says:

          Bull Moose, you may not be repeating the soundbites, but your post certainly goes along with the failed meme attempted by the Obama gang earlier in the week…’hey, it’s not my red line, it’s your red line America, deal with it’.

  13. Bull Moose says:

    It should not all fall upon the United States to police the world. That was the reasoning behind the creation of the United Nations after the failure of the League of Nations. However, the UN has certain checks and balances that can, legitimately, delay quick action such as the veto power of the 5 permanent members of the Security Council.

    I do not necessarily believe that unilateral action is in our best interests, but a coalition must be put together to address this situation in Syria and hold firm to the principles of the Geneva Conventions. To that extent, I think if America abandons its role as a super power to help form and lead that coalition, I think we are doing a disservice to ourselves in the long run.

    As to Africa, yes. It is a travesty what has occurred and beyond my understanding as to how the UN has not stepped up international efforts to address these unconscionable atrocities.

    The unfortunate part of all of this is that we have a strain of xenophobia within some on the right that believe the UN has ulterior motives and does not understand nor see the merit in such a collaborative international body. We saw this most recently when the US Senate rejected the UN Treaty on Disability that was largely based upon the US’s very own laws.

    • seenbetrdayz says:

      Eh, the question there would be ‘what is the benefit of signing onto a binding treaty if our own laws already cover the issue?’

      As to why the UN hasn’t stepped up, it’s important to note that only a handful of countries actually control what goes on at the U.N. Those countries are the five with Security Council veto powers.

      Since Russia and China have veto power and they always butt-heads with the U.S. and the U.K., it would seem that the only country that has the final say in what happens with the U.N. is France, and that is why the U.N. is largely ineffective, lol.

      • benevolus says:

        The UN might be ineffective when it comes to coflict intervention, but the UN has many important and successful programs around the world. They are not some omnipotent force that can swoop in and confrontbany situation. That’s an unrealistic expectation.

        • Harry says:

          Most of the “laws” the UN promulgate tend to exacerbate statist control and the loss of liberty and self-determination. Also, just as an aside the UN peacekeepers in Africa are often accused of raising the level of HIV in their engagement areas.

          • benevolus says:

            Refugee camps aren’t laws, nor are medical attention, food for the starving, disaster relief, training, or education.

  14. Charlie says:

    And from Georgia’s 12th District:

    Allen on Syria: “Protecting President Obama’s Reputation is not an Acceptable Military Objective”

    AUGUSTA, GA –Augusta businessman and congressional candidate Rick Allen today weighed in on the President’s Syria policy and his request for support of the use of force from Congress. His statement follows:

    Before we begin, we need to know what the end looks like and nobody in Washington seems to know that answer. Until there is a clear and obtainable objective, I oppose intervention that would be ineffective at best and kill large numbers of civilians and human shields at worst. Protecting President Obama’s reputation is not an acceptable military objective.

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