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September 02, 2013

McCain: It would be "catastrophic" if Congress rejects Syria strike

President Barack Obama's administration continued to press Congress to intervene in the civil war in Syria through phone calls and meetings Monday.

Obama, along with National Security Advisor Susan Rice, met with Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz. and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. -- two senators who will be critical to shoring up support on Capitol Hill -- in the Oval Offic for an hour Sunday afternoon.

McCain told reporters after the meeting that it would be "catastrophic" if Congress rejects authorization for strike.

"This is pretty bizarre to give the enemy weeks to reconfigure their force," Graham said. "But we are where we are."

The senators, who are both supportive of the outlines of Obama's plan, say he needs to work hard to sell his plan to the American people and to Congress.

McCain said he was "astounded" that Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey assured Obama that it did not matter when the U.S. attacked Syria. He said that waiting has made it "much harder than if we had acted initially."

"The president underscored that America is stronger when the president and Congress work together to stand up for our national interests," according to a senior administration official. "The president made clear his view that the failure to take limited action against Assad would unravel the deterrent impact of the international norm against chemical weapons use; would endanger U.S. allies in the region; and would risk emboldening Assad and his allies, Hizballah and Iran. The president committed to keeping both senators and all of their colleagues updated as any additional information becomes available."

Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel will testify in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committe tomorrow. Kerry will testify Wednesday in front of House Foreign Affairs Committee.


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Indeed: we must protect our status as the world's only terroristic power.


I agree with McCain.If we do not strike there will be another terroristic power in the middle east.

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"Planet Washington" covers politics and government. It is written by journalists in McClatchy's Washington Bureau.

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