In a day where Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel faced questions from his former colleagues in the Senate, the exchange between Kerry and U.S. Senator Tom Udall was one of the most noteworthy.
Udall, who voted against going to war in Iraq, also seems to be leaning towards voting against military action in Syria.
A video of the at-times contentious exchange in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is available below.
General Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was also at the hearing.
“We’re being told we’re bombing in order to send a message, but what message are we sending?” Udall said during the hearing.
“To the international community, we’re saying once again, the United States will be the world’s policeman. You break a law, and the United States will step in. We are on shaky international legal foundations with this potential strike,” Udall continued. “And we need to know whether we exhausted all diplomatic and economic sanction options to affect Syria’s behavior.”
Kerry defended attacking Dyria, albeit without troops on the ground, as the moral thing to do.
“It’s not a question of what will happen if we don’t do it; it’s a certainty,” Kerry said. “Are you going to be comfortable if Assad, as a result of the United States not doing anything, then gasses his people yet again, and the world says, ‘Why didn’t the United States act?’ History is full of opportunity of moments where someone didn’t stand up and act when it made a difference.”