Meet the Press   |  September 01, 2013

Murphy: 'Right move' to come to Congress

Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut commends the administration's decision to seek approval from Congress before a strike in Syria and discusses how to ensure that such military action doesn't evolve into a more involved conflict.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> let me turn now to senator chris murphy , democrat from connecticut. and senator, on the one hand he's coming to congress. perhaps that pleases you. but you also heard the president say in chuck's reporting and in his statement yesterday he's decided to use military force .

>> well, listen, i think this is the right move the come to congress. i don't think we want to go into this kind of serious military action as a nation divided. and i frankly think that the time it's going to take to have this debate will allow for more deliberation. i agree with president kerry this is a moral obscenity. the the question is, is military action actually going to make the situation better on the ground for the syrian people and how do you make sure this doesn't escalate into something much more damaging and much more bloody within the region. and i think that this week or this week and a half is going to allow the administration to think through and work through with congress a plan that, a, makes sure that assad doesn't simply turn to more ferocious attacks on his own people, and make sure there's a plan in place such that this doesn't spill into something that ends up having even more people killed in the region.

>> but senator, you heard secretary kerry say this was a sarin gas attack . that was news this morning based on new evidence and intelligence. and the president is saying in effect -- my words, not his -- you've got 100,000 people killed, you now have 1,500 people killed by chemical attack , including hundreds of children. how much bloodier does it have to get until the united states says wmd, that's the line you don't cross, we have to respond?

>> listen, i mean, i'm thinking about my two little kids at home every time that i watch those videos and those photos. and the question really is not is this unacceptable but can we make the situation better. and ultimately, my worry is, and what's going to be my guiding principle over the next week as i enter into these deliberations, is will a u.s. attack make the situation better for syrian people or worse. there's a potential you could end up allowing those chemical weapons into the hands of even worse people, a wing of al qaeda , and there is of course a potential that this could spill into a much broader conflict in the region, which could allow a lot more people to be killed. i think those are just the essential questions we have to ask. the guiding foundation and principle of american foreign policy should be do no harm, and i think that will be the foundation of our debate.

>> so are you a yes or no vote, and does congress pass the authorization?

>> listen, i think congress passes the authorization. i was on the losing end of a 12-3 vote in the foreign relations committee against giving the president the authorization to arm syrian rebels. i certainly enter this debate as a skeptic, but i'm going to allow the administration to make its case this week. i'm going to go back to washington to sit on the foreign relations committee . i'm certainly a skeptic going in. but i'm going to allow the administration to present its evidence to congress and to the senate.

>> senator murphy, thank you very much this morning. i appreciate it.

>> thank you, david.