- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 28, 2013

House Speaker John A. Boehner said Wednesday that the U.S does have national security interests in Syria, but said President Obama hasn’t laid out a compelling case to Congress or the American public about what those interests are and how military strikes could achieve them.

“It is essential that you provide a clear, unambiguous explanation of how military action — which is a means, not a policy — will secure U.S. objectives and how it fits into your overall policy,” Mr. Boehner said in a letter to Mr. Obama, released Wednesday evening.

The Ohio Republican told the president to “personally make the case” if he wants to commit U.S. military assets to the conflict.

SEE ALSO: Consensus grows to arm Syrian rebels, but only the right ones; Obama still weighing options

And Mr. Boehner also cautioned that Mr. Obama must follow the Constitution, which grants Congress the power to declare war.

The administration says it is trying to keep Congress in the loop on its thinking and options, and a senior administration official said late Wednesday they are still working through their assessment.

“Once our intelligence community has made a formal assessment, we will provide the classified assessment to the Congress, and we will make unclassified details available to the public. I expect that will occur sometime this week,” the official said.

SEE ALSO: Syrian opposition rejects any U.S. plan leaving Bashar Assad in office

Mr. Boehner’s letter included 14 different questions he said must be answered in the case Mr. Obama decides to use military force, including what precedent that sets for other world hot-spots and what conditions would cause the U.S. to strike again.

Mr. Obama and top aides have been calling key members of Congress to talk over strategy, but Mr. Boehner said that “outreach” is welcomed, it is not the “substantive consultation” that he said is required.

“After spending the last 12 years fighting those who seek to harm our fellow citizens, our interests, and our allies, we all have a greater appreciation of what it means for our country to enter into conflict,” he said. “It will take that public support and congressional will to sustain the Administration’s efforts, and our military, as well as their families, deserve to have the confidence that we collectively have their backs — and a thorough strategy in place.”

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