Rep. Blackburn: "Clearly articulated" Syria plan needed

(CBS News) Among Republicans suspect of President Obama's plans to strike Syria is Rep. Marsha Blackburn, of Tenn., who is currently leaning toward a "no" vote.

The congresswoman said on "CBS This Morning" she's going to wait until Monday to get the detailed intelligence briefing and is looking for more "clearly articulated" information on what the president is planning for the mission.

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"I want to see actionable intelligence and see what they have, what they bring forward in the classified briefing," she said. "I want (President Obama) to define this mission.

Blackburn, who represents the state in which Fort Campbell is located, continued, "And then my question to him is how is he going to back-fill all of the cuts that have been made to our military forces over the past three or four years. We're looking at a trillion dollars worth of cuts that are coming to the military. They basically had a round of sequestration before they took the 5 percent cut in sequestration. So we have sent them into Afghanistan for a surge with less money. Then Libya. Then Egypt. Now Syria. And it's all being done with less resources."

Pressed on the Obama statement of "no boots on the ground," Blackburn said in other military operations, there has been a "fumbling ... of some of the processes in Afghanistan, questions surrounding, questions surrounding Egypt."

She said, "People are saying, we should be incredibly cautious about what we're going to do as we look at Syria. Let's please be certain that the president is able to articulate what and how and when and exit."

Turning to the politics of the Syria vote -- and calls for members of Congress to vote according to their conscience -- Blackburn said, "Everyone disagrees with the immorality of Assad's actions and the gassing of his people. There are just -- I think at the end of the day ... what people are going to do is look at this and say, 'What is in the best interest of the United States?' For my constituents, they're concerned about additional deployments and lack of definition in a mission."

There is also concern from some in the Obama administration and others that if the U.S. doesn't do something that Assad will use chemical weapons again, and, if you don't do something, the Iranians will take that as a clue that they can go ahead with nuclear weapons, "CBS This Morning" co-host Charlie Rose remarked.

Blackburn said, "And to those, what if Assad does it again and again and again. Then what is the response. And then you're correct, Charlie. The considerations of Iran and Russia, and the entire region. The instability of the entire region. I think this is why there was an urging as far as two years back to do something about the situation in Syria that has gotten worse.

"You can go back and see what transpired in Iraq when they were saying these weapons are being moved to Syria, the (weapons of mass destruction) WMD is moving to Syria, and indeed there are individuals who are saying let's look at the pedigree, see where this gas is from and where it ties back to. So there are loads of questions to be answered. House members are going to do our due diligence and do it carefully."

  • Amanda Cochran

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