Senate holds hearing on Syria - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Senate resolution: No boots on the ground in Syria

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Senator Robert Menendez, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman speaks at the Senate hearing on Syria military action. (Source: CNN) Senator Robert Menendez, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman speaks at the Senate hearing on Syria military action. (Source: CNN)
Senator Bob Corker, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking member speaks at the Senate hearing on Syria military action. (Source: CNN) Senator Bob Corker, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking member speaks at the Senate hearing on Syria military action. (Source: CNN)

(RNN) – After a day of hearings by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to discuss the use of military force against Syria, the Senate will take up a resolution barring use of ground forces in the war-torn country.

CNN reported the committee would take up the revised bill on Wednesday regarding use of force in Syria that would limit authorization to 60 days, with the option of an additional 30 days if needed.

Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Stafff, faced pointed questions about from senators regarding potential missle strikes.

In testimony Tuesday, Kerry made it clear that President Barack Obama is not asking U.S. troops to go to war.

"President Obama is not asking America to go to war, and I say that sitting next to two men, Secretary Hagel and Chairman Dempsey, who know what war is," he said. "Senator [John] McCain knows what war is. They know the difference between going to war and what President Obama is requesting now."

Anti-war protestors with Code Pink interrupted the hearing twice. They could be heard shouting, "Nobody wants this war!" and "Launching cruise missiles means another war! The American people do not want this!"

Kerry acknowledged the protest, saying that 27 years ago he had feelings similar to the protestor.

"I would just say that is exactly why it is so important that we are here, having this debate, talking about these things before the country, and that the Congress itself will act... representing the American people, and I think we can all respect those who have a different point of view... and we do," said Kerry.

During the hearing, Hagel mentioned the risks involved with taking action and not taking action.

"The Assad regime, under increasing pressure by the Syrian opposition, could feel empowered to carry out even more devastating chemical weapons attacks," he said. "A refusal to act would undermine the credibility of America's other security commitments – including the President's commitment to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon."

Toward the end of the hearing, Kerry reiterated that Obama is asking for "limited authority" to degrade Assad's current capacity and to "deter him from using it again."

"He is not asking for permission from the Congress to go destry the entire regime or to, you know, do a much more extensive kind of thing," said Kerry. "It's not what he's asking."

Earlier on Tuesday, House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor also got behind Obama's case for military action. Boehner agreed with the president that Bashar Assad crossed a line when he allegedly used chemical weapons in an attack on his own people.

Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham met with the president on Monday to broker congressional support for a missile launch on Syria.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at a news conference on Tuesday, that "the use of force is lawful only when in exercise of self-defense in accordance with article 51 of the United Nations Charter and or when the Security Council approves such action."

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