Mitch McConnell: Want My Syria Position? Wait Till Next Week

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/8567879140/sizes/m/in/photolist-e47BY9-dCrDwN-dCtLqK-dCzcvf-71C33c-7Gei5H-6ptYBN-8TTXLg-81Cx4n-cE7HVd-cE7J51-82ZqwX-82ZpbP-82Zrii-7TKNP1-6pFjZj-cE7KbA-cE7JZL-cE7L6f-cE7Ji3-cE7Kkm-cE7KWq-cE7Lew-e41YUR-e47zLY-e47BEd-e41YKt-e47APW-e47BPA-e47Ag3-e47Bvw-e47zrL-e47z3j-e41Ygk-e47AZQ-e47zd7-e41Wmc-e47zjG-e47A67-e47zAG-e47zX1-e47Ax5-77yJbL-6anwzb/">Photographer</a>/Flickr

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At an appearance Friday at the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) spoke about the Syrian civil war and the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons on the Syrian people.

McConnell did not take a position on whether the US military should bomb Syria in response to the chemical weapons attacks. “This is a tough call. I think there are good arguments on both sides,” he said. The Kentucky senator told the audience he would announce his position on whether to bomb Syria next week.

McConnell did, however, delve a bit deeper into his views on the chemical weapons attack. “Use of chemical weapons against anybody, particularly against your own people, has been viewed for decades as simply unacceptable,” he said. That view is awfully close to President Obama’s position that the use of chemical weapons crosses a “red line” widely acknowledged by the international community.

In 2012, Obama said that “a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus.” Earlier this week, Obama hedged that by saying, “I didn’t set a red line; the world set a red line. The world set a red line when governments representing 98 percent of the world’s population said the use of chemical weapons are abhorrent and passed a treaty forbidding their use even when countries are engaged in war.”

What McConnell said at the Northern Kentucky Chamber is a boiled-down version of that statement. It remains a mystery whether McConnell will back strikes in Syria—and risk further inflaming his already hostile conservative base—or cast his lot with fellow Kentucky senator Rand Paul and oppose the strikes. We’ll have to wait until next week to find out.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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