Kentucky’s senior U.S. Senator said while he hasn’t made up his mind on a possible U.S. strike in Syria, he’s certain American military forces won’t be placed inside that country.
Republican Mitch McConnell spoke to the Bowling Green Noon Rotary Club Wednesday, and said even those in Washington who are advocating for U.S. involvement in Syria are stopping short of calling for boots on the ground.
“I’m not just instinctively opposed to military action,” the Louisville Republican said. “I supported the Afghan war, and I supported the Iraq war. Certainly we need to be careful about doing it. I don’t think anybody supports putting any American military personnel there at all.”
McConnell said he would announce his position on Syria “in the coming days.”
The Senate Minority Leader said there’s no way to be certain which political or religious group would take over Syria if the current regime was toppled.
"What would be the impact of a change in Syria? Frankly, there’s no way to know for sure," McConnell said. "We had an election in Egypt, and the Muslim Brotherhood won. We had an election in Gaza, and Hamas won. I don’t know what would come next, and that’s one of the arguments against any kind of involvement at all.
McConnell said what's happening inside Syria "looks like a war with sectarian implications."
McConnell's lack of a stated position on a strike against Syria stands in contrast to his fellow Kentucky Republican, Senator Rand Paul of Bowling Green.
Paul was one of the loudest voices calling on President Obama to first receive Congressional approval before launching any military action against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Sen. Paul is opposed to U.S. involvement in Syria, saying the civil war there has no direct impact on American interests.
McConnell didn’t take any questions from reporters following his speech, and only mentioned the Syria issue after being asked by an audience member.
Update: A U.S. Senate panel has voted 10-7 to authorize the use of force against Syria.