First on CNN: Santorum opposes strikes in Syria
September 5th, 2013
07:52 AM ET
1 year ago

First on CNN: Santorum opposes strikes in Syria

(CNN) - While former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania called for military intervention in Syria a year and a half ago, he's now urging members of Congress to vote against giving the president authorization to launch limited strikes in the country.

According to a Santorum source, the Republican will release a statement later Thursday morning arguing "there are no good outcomes here" and faulting the president for drawing a "reckless" line in the sand.

"An al Qaeda-run Syria is no better than an Assad-Iran-Hezbollah-run Syria," he says in the statement. "What is happening there is tragic, but it is not in the United States’ best interest to intervene with a military strike."

In March 2012, when Santorum was battling Mitt Romney for the GOP presidential nomination, the former senator told TIME Magazine air strikes "would certainly be one of the things" he would consider as a strategy for taking out Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

"Had President Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton acted then in support of pro-democracy forces when that rebellion was taking place, we could have removed Assad and helped usher in stability for that country," Santorum says in Thursday's statement. "But we have a very different situation today. After nearly two years, 100,000 people killed, a rebel force comprised of al Qaeda and a Syrian regime in a much stronger position, a military strike would no longer be in our national security interest."

5 things on Syria: Obama overseas to developments at home

Santorum, who hasn't ruled out another run for president in 2016, co-authored the Syria Accountability Act, a law passed in 2003 that sought to use economic sanctions to end support for terrorism in Syria and the country's alleged collection of weapons of mass destruction.

Obama referenced the legislation Wednesday when he argued he didn't set a "red line" for Syria of chemical weapons on his own; rather Congress and the world set it.

"Congress set a red line when it ratified that treaty," Obama said at a press conference in Sweden. "Congress set a red line when it indicated that in a piece of legislation entitled the 'Syria Accountability Act' that some of the horrendous things that are happening on the ground there need to be answered for."


Filed under: Rick Santorum • Syria
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Charisse

    Santorum is a do nothing. What do you expect?

    September 5, 2013 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  2. Tampa Tim

    Why are there still Santorum sources? Would he feel the same if Assad gassed fetuses?

    September 5, 2013 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  3. Tampa Tim

    Too late! Rand and Marco have already jumped in with Putin.

    September 5, 2013 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  4. The Real Tom Paine

    First, who cares what Santorum thinks? Like so many who oppose getting involved, he is now backtracking for transparent reason. Scond, I knew my comments from yesterday would spark a reaction. Here is my reasoning: the realities of power, a phrase I borowed from Petra Kelly ( founder of the Green Party movement in Germany), are based in examining things as they are, not what we fantacise about. The reality of being President and ordering a military action against a brutal regime are based in our recent history. Remember Bosnia, and the mass killings that we did nothing to stop? I remember a cartoon showing 2 Bosnians running from one shellhole to another, with one asking, " How can we get help?" the other replied, " Find oil." I know we cannot get involved in every crisis, but I am always amazed at how reluctant the Left is about exercising the power of the offices they get elected to. Nothing in what the President is proposing involves boots on the ground, so I am at a loss to understand where their objections are coming from. I am under no illusions that this is a difficult choice, but we don't have the luxury of silently bearing witness yet again: why not act? We have a compelling strategic reason to do this that goes beyond Asaad killing his own people with chemical weapons, we have a chance to disrupt Hezbollah and their supply chain from Iran. At least Obama is going to Congress instead of simply ordering the strike and dealing with yet another round of investigations by Issa and others. Be thankful he is at least doing that.

    September 5, 2013 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  5. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    If Santorum is opposed to it, it must be a good thing. I have now changed my mind and decided we need to strike Syria NOW, HARD AND FAST!

    September 5, 2013 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  6. Wake up People!

    Sit down and shut up Ricky. You're not even a member of Congress anymore and you'll NEVER be President.

    September 5, 2013 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  7. onlyfacts

    Thanks for the opinion Ricky regarding our national security. Your expertise on the subject is...well... overwhelming. For now I will consider your opinion, but I'd like to hear Palin's latest opinion too, so I will know all the facts regarding our dictators mistakes.

    September 5, 2013 08:37 am at 8:37 am |