Sunday Show Round Up: Lawmakers Call for Intervention in Syria

50th Anniversary of MLK’s ‘I Have a Dream’ Speech Commemorated

Bob Corker (AP)
August 25, 2013

Concerns amongst lawmakers and officials escalated in light of robust evidence Bashar al Assad’s forces carried out a chemical attack on civilians earlier this week.

"I think we will respond in a surgical way and I hope the president as soon as we get back to Washington will ask for authorization from Congress to do something in a very surgical and proportional way, something that gets their attention that causes them to understand we're not going to put up with this kind of activity," said Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, during an appearance on Fox News Sunday.

Shortly after the interview, the BBC reported that the Syrian government "agreed to allow UN inspectors to investigate allegations of a suspected chemical weapon attack near Damascus."

Supporters such as Senator John McCain (R., Ariz.) have increasingly advocated for some form of military intervention, but critics previously cautioned against this approach, fearing that intervention could "trigger" a larger conflict and further destabilize the Middle East region.

Amr Moussa, former Egyptian foreign minister and former Secretary-General of the Arab League, warned against intervention on ABC’s This Week. "They always start like that, limited [air] strike, then it widens and grows and grows and then all the region will be involved."

"Nobody should use chemical weapons against any other party," said Moussa, "but we need also, a position taken by the Security Council. The Security Council should address this issue … before any action."

However, others see immediate action as a necessary course.

"I think we have to act rather quickly," said Rep. Eliot Engel (D., N.Y.). "I think that we cannot afford to sit back and wait. We certainly cannot wait for the United Nations. The Russians are there to block everything with their veto."

Engel, who appeared alongside Corker on Fox News Sunday, argued that the situation in Syria was comparable to Kosovo, where in 1999 NATO forces carried out an operation to end mass killings of civilians.

Those airstrikes have been pointed to as a possible "blueprint" for the Obama administration.

"I certainly would do cruise missile strikes [in Syria], I think you can do that without boots on the ground" Engel said. "I just think that we have to move, and we have to move quickly. I do agree with Senator Corker that I think Congress needs to be involved, but perhaps not initially."

The U.S. is said to be reviewing militarily options.

The Sunday programs also took time to commemorate the 1963 March on Washington.

This weekend thousands descended on Washington, D.C. to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the March and Martin Luther King’s historical "I Have a Dream" speech.

"It was a moving moment to stand there in the same spot fifty years later, where Dr. King and others stood," Rep. John Lewis told NBC’s Meet the Press.

Lewis was 23 years old when he spoke and helped to plan the original event.

This weekend’s march focused on current issues, like jobs and the recent ruling on the Voting Rights Act, but it was also a moment to remember an event that many say changed America.

General Colin Powell, the first African American to be appointed Secretary of State, told Face the Nation that, while there is still more work to be done as a society, we should be "very proud of what we’ve accomplished."

"This country’s come so far," said Powell. "I mean it’s easy to say ‘well we’ve still got a lot of problems’ and we do, we do. But we should not overlook how far we have come since 1963. I have seen things that I couldn’t of imagined. I have seen the President of the United States. I was able to achieve high positions in our government. Increasingly … you can rise to any height you want to in this country, that is a remarkable improvement from 1963."