Senator visits

U.S. Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) speaks with members of the public during an appearance on Tuesday at Southern Arkansas University.

Now is not the right time for the United States to deliver a military blow against Syria, U.S. Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) said in Magnolia on Tuesday.

Boozman, going off-topic during a workshop on Arkansas and world trade held at Southern Arkansas University, said he is concerned that the United States does not have a clear path.

President Barack Obama has said that he is prepared to launch a military strike against Syria -- punishment for using chemical weapons against civilians in that nation’s current civil war. But he is asking for congressional support before committing the U.S. to action.

“I don’t know that there really is a good path. When you’re faced with that kind of decision, the best thing to do is to not do anything,” Boozman said.

The president has two options that Boozman described as “smack ‘em hard“ or “hit them soft“ strategies.

“He can say (to Syria), ’You’ve crossed a line,’ and he can really get after them. He’s said he’s not going to do anything with regime change or tip the balance of power.

“We don’t know if (the insurgents‘) leadership will be any better than what we’ve got. So you have this terrible situation where (the Syrian government) used gas. These insurgents -- the Taliban and Al-Qaeda types -- will slip on a suicide vest and walk into a wedding party and blow everybody up without batting an eye. You don’t know if you’re better off,” Boozman said.

“The other thing is that he can hit them a little bit, and I really worry about that because if you don’t do it enough so that it’s a major thing, these thugs will think, ‘We can weather this.’”

Normally in a time of crisis, it is best for the government to pull together and display a unified front.

“But in this situation I think if the Congress doesn‘t vote for it, I don’t see that we’ve really lost any stature. Something your strength is a show of force also. We’ve got the biggest, baddest military the world has ever know. We could deal with Syria if we had to. But I don’t think this is the time to do it,” Boozman said.

“When you drop a bomb on somebody, that’s an act of war. So this gets us into that (civil war). The thing we should have learned with Libya and Iraq and Afghanistan is it’s easy to get into these things and it’s tough to get out,” he said.

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