Indiana News

Coats: Obama Needs to Personally Clarify Goals of Syria Strike

Senator says he doesn't expect to decide his vote till presidential speech


Sen. Dan Coats ( file photo)

Indiana Senator Dan Coats says he doesn't expect to decide whether to support military action in Syria until President Obama returns from an overseas trip.


Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel have made the administration's case on Capitol Hill. Coats says that's not enough in this case -- he complains Obama has issued contradictory statements over whether the U.S. should seek the overthrow of President Bashar Assad and whether to support opposition groups.

The Republican senator says he's never seen Hoosiers as opposed to military action as they are in this case. He says that alone won't determine his vote -- among other things, he notes his seat on the Senate Intelligence Committee means he has access to classified information that might shape his opinion. But he says Obama needs to spell out his broader goals for the Middle East, how he intends to deal with potential retaliation, and what he hopes to accomplish.

Obama plans to address the nation on Syria on Tuesday.

Coats says American credibility is in jeopardy regardless of whether it intervenes in Syria or not, and says that adds a layer of complication to the authorization vote.

Sixth District Representative Luke Messer (R) has said he'll vote for the strike, while Representatives Jackie Walorski (R-2nd) and Larry Bucshon (R-8th) plan to vote no. Representatives Marlin Stutzman (R-3rd) and Todd Rokita (R-4th) have said they're "skeptical" but haven't announced final decisions.


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