A growing group of Republican senators lined up Wednesday to lambaste President Obama’s handling of the situation in Syria, saying his impassioned push for a limited military strike to punish Syrian leader Bashar Assad has been muddled by see-sawing objectives and diplomatic options.
Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn of Texas said Mr. Obama has not demonstrated how the use of force would advance America’s interests.
“In the case of Syria, President Obama has not offered a clear strategy or clearly laid out his objectives,” Mr. Cornyn said, adding: “Military force is like a hammer, and you can’t thread the needle that President Obama wants to thread with a hammer.”
Republican Sen. Deb Fischer said she opposes military action in Syria and that Mr. Obama failed to outline a serious plan or show how a strike would protect America’s interests.
The Nebraska freshman senator said Mr. Obama’s case is “weak” and focuses narrowly on Mr. Assad’s use of chemical weapons on Aug. 21 amid a civil conflict that has “raged for years and claimed over 100,000 lives.”
“Unfortunately, what we’ve seen from the commander-in-chief so far has been indecision, verbal gymnastics, and a reluctance to step up and lead,” she said. “This ‘pinball diplomacy’ — haplessly bouncing from idea to idea — is untenable.”
She said Mr. Obama should pursue a diplomatic solution presented by Russia to dismantle Mr. Assad’s chemical weapons supply, but retain a “tough” stance during negotiations.
“I expect the president to follow through and not let the issue fade,” she said.