Syria proposal needs answers

The decision by a U.S. Senate committee to endorse President Barack Obama’s plan for a military strike on Syria was not exactly a ringing vote of confidence: Ten senators agreed but seven others could not bring themselves to do so.

Wednesday’s vote clears the way for the full Senate to argue the matter. Debate continues in the House of Representatives.

One thing has been made crystal clear: Obama and his advisers and Cabinet secretaries have not thought the matter through – and are annoyed when anyone suggests they should do so.

Attacking Syria in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack that killed hundreds of Syrians has complex ramifications. One is whether the U.S. is prepared for counterattacks by the Syrian military and/or terrorist organizations.

During a House of Representatives hearing on the proposal, Secretary of State John Kerry was reminded of questions that still surround the terrorist attack last fall on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

“We’re talking about people being killed by gas and you want to go talk about Benghazi,” Kerry responded to U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C.

Well, yes. U.S. intelligence did not anticipate the Benghazi attack, then the White House tried to cover up what happened. That failure, then attempted deception, does not inspire confidence about Syria.

U.S. officials trying to sell the plan in Congress insist it does not really involve war. It does – and lawmakers should be asking many questions, even if they irritate John Kerry.