Sen. Begich lays out position on Syria strike

Alaska’s junior senator says he’s likely a “no vote” on a resolution to authorize a military strike in Syria.

Democratic Sen. Mark Begich says he doesn’t support President Obama’s version because it was too broad, and had serious reservations about the version the Senate Foreign Relations Committee advanced to the full Senate on Wednesday.

He made the comments from Washington, D.C., during a telephone townhall meeting with constituents on Thursday evening.

Begich said he has four unsatisfied criteria. First, he said the response to the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s violation of an international chemical weapons ban must be an international effort that includes Russia and China.

Second, “No boots on the ground, whatsoever, of any kind.”

Third, the military strikes must be paid for without stripping down “important, needed services.”

Finally, he must have an understanding of the “real game plan” and the end game.

Begich said it was unlikely his criteria would be met.

“I know what some will say,” he said. “Well, I put too high a standard — that means I’ll probably be a ‘no.’ Well, these are the standards when you’re putting American lives on the line that we should have. So that’s where I’m at on this, they got a lot to still prove to me.”

Republican Rep. Don Young has said he’s opposed to any U.S. military intervention in Syria. And Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski has said she is “wary” of intervention, but is soliciting constituent input on the topic.

The full Senate is expected to take up the resolution next week.

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