Menendez Tells WCBS 880's Steve Scott Vote Was To Send Global Message

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — On the second day of closed-door meetings in Washington, the Obama administration tries to build support in Congress for a military strike on Syria.

The Senate Foreign Relations committee voted 10-to-7 Wednesday in favor of a resolution authorizing military action. It would be limited in duration to 90 days, and American ground troops couldn’t be sent into combat.

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A top Obama administration official says he thinks the American people will be more supportive of a U.S. military strike on Syria, once they see Syria as a separate and distinct situation — rather than linking it to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, voted yes on a limited military strike.

Menendez told WCBS 880’s Steve Scott the reason he voted yes on a limited military strike on President Bashar Assad’s infrastructure in Syria was “to punish Assad for the use of chemical weapons which in the last incident created the death of 1,429 citizens — including over 400 children.”

“To send an ability to deter and degrade his capability to use chemical weapons again, and to send a global message  that the violation of international law, which prohibits the use of chemical weapons, comes with great punishment. So that we can send a message globally to Iran that is considering a march towards nuclear weapons, or North Korea that has a large chemical weapons cache — don’t even think about violating these international norms.”

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Menendez also said he respected President Obama for coming to Congress “clearly since under the war powers act he had the ability to go ahead and unilaterally make a strike.”

“The nation was stronger and the mission would be stronger by getting the support of Congress to send that global message,” Menendez added.

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