Murphy urges cool heads over Syria

Washington — Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., may agree with President Obama on many things, but not on Syria.

On Tuesday, Murphy said in a statement that he opposed Obama’s consideration of the use of force against the government of  Bashar al-Assad, who is accused of using chemical weapons against opponents in the country’s civil war.

Murphy said, “There is no longer any question” that al-Assad’s forces “committed unspeakable atrocities against the people of Syria.”

“In the short-term, however, there is little chance that targeted air strikes would destroy Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles, making the strikes little more than a slap on the wrist,” Murphy said. “Moreover, those air strikes would prompt a reaction from Assad as well as the countries that finance his murderous regime.”

Murphy, a new member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been calling for restraint on Syria for months. On Tuesday he said the White House “should not take military action without congressional authorization.”

But many are saying a U.S. military strike on Syria is inevitable.

Jay Carney, Obama’s top spokesman, insisted Tuesday that the president has not yet made a decision about how to respond to an attack by al-Assad’s forces last week that rebels say killed hundreds of people — including women and children — with the help of chemical weapons.

But Obama continues his round of phone calls to world leaders, speaking to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper Tuesday about their shared opposition to the use of chemical weapons.