Rep. Alan Grayson spoke to MSNBC's Craig Melvin this Friday following Sec. John Kerry's speech on Syria and remained unmoved on whether it is in the national security interest of the United States to get involved there, and told Melvin that the United States cannot be the policeman for the rest of the world.
Grayson still had reservations, as he'd expressed to Slate prior to Kerry's speech, on the evidence of just who used the chemical weapons. He also told Melvin that President Obama should have to go to Congress first for approval before he goes into Syria.
Here's to hoping it's not falling on deaf ears, but I'm not holding my breath. There are a whole lot of bad and even worse outcomes that could take place if we start dropping bombs and this thing escalates. I don't have the same doubts on whether it's likely that Assad was the one responsible for the chemical attacks that Grayson expressed here and in the Slate article, but I agree with Grayson that we should not be the world's policeman. I also agree with him that we should make the Congress vote on this if they want to go in there, and if we do go in, it should be with some international coalition and not unilaterally.
Here's to hoping some cooler heads prevail in the end. We need another war with another country in the Middle East like we need a hole in our heads and as Grayson said, we should be tending to our own garden first. We're always too broke to take care of our own citizens, but we've always got the money to start another war and feed the military Congressional industrial complex.
Rough transcript below the fold.
MELVIN: Let me get your reaction to that. Did that in any way shape or form change your mind at all?
GRAYSON: No, because we still haven't heard anything that would explain why there's a vital U.S. national security interest in attacking Syria . that's the bottom line here. I feel bad that this attack happened, but it wasn't an attack against Americans. It's not an attack against anything that resembles an American interest. We can't be the policemen for the world. We have to pick our fights. The country is incredibly war weary at this point and understandably so. We should tend to our own garden first.
MELVIN: Is there any doubt in your mind at this point now that the Assad regime was behind the attack, or are you still convinced that the evidence itself is a bit murky?
GRAYSON: Well, it's murky in one important respect, which is respect that is underlined by the report just released. the administration says it has evidence that Syrian officials, not Assad , but Syrian officials were witting of the attacks. Honestly, that's the first time I’ve ever heard that phase used in my entire life. Witting of the attacks. One could reasonably ask the question, what did Assad know and when did he know it? If you ask that question, you'll be met with a stoney silence.
MELVIN: But the report -- and I’ve got a copy in my my hand -- also goes on to say there were videos, witness accounts, social media reports from 12 different locations in the Damascus areas, journalistic accounts, and nongovernmental agencies as well. how do you discount that?
GRAYSON: I didn't. and you're referring to reports that there was an attack. None of that evidence deals with who actually decided to make that attack. We could have a situation here where there's literally a loose cannon that decided to go ahead and undertake this and not anything reflecting the policy of the regime. By the way, it's been more than three months since there was even a claim of such an attack. This seems to be a one-time sporadic, maybe even unauthorized attack. regardless of the fact whether it was authorized or not, this simply has little or nothing to do with us. It has little or nothing to do with us. That's the fundamental, crucial point here. We are not the world's policemen. We can't go and try to right every wrong by bombing it.
MELVIN: No moral obligation ?
GRAYSON: Well, if the U.N. were to authorize its member states to go ahead and do something about this, that might be a different circumstance. But if you're talking about whether the United States has a moral obligation to right every wrong in the world, I think that you'll find that you're virtually alone in that opinion.
MELVIN: Do you think president Obama needs Congressional approval?
MELVIN: What have the conversations been like between the White House and Congressional leadership?
GRAYSON: Well, you'd have to ask Congressional leadership that question. they haven't gone down through the rank and file yet. I haven't had any opportunity to ask my questions to the administration.