Former Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) cautioned against hasty military action in Syria during a Tuesday interview with The Hill, claiming that air strikes would help al Qaeda and lead to much broader conflict.
"So what, we're about to become Al Qaeda's air force now?" Kucinich said, presumably referring to reports that the terrorist group has also vowed "revenge" on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime. "This is a very, very serious matter that has broad implications internationally. And to try to minimize it by saying we're just going to have a 'targeted strike' -- that's an act of war. It's not anything to be trifled with."
The Obama administration has confirmed its belief that Assad is responsible for killing as many as 1,000 innocent civilians in a chemical attack last week. The United Nations also concluded that a chemical substance was used in the strike, but has yet to determine that it came from Assad's forces, who have accused rebel forces of also using chemical weapons.
Kucinich also suggested that it would be unconstitutional for Obama to order a strike without congressional approval, a viewpoint that both the president and Vice President Joe Biden once shared as members of Congress. The Ohio Democrat made a similar argument in 2011, claiming that it could be an impeachable offense for Obama to take military action in Libya without first consulting lawmakers.
Kucinich has attracted scrutiny for his input on Syria in the past. In 2011, he went on a "fact-finding" mission to the Middle Eastern nation, a trip that gave rise to reports by state-owned media claiming that Kucinich had lavished praise on Assad for his willingness to "negotiate." Kucinich's office responded by saying that the then-congressman's actual comments had been "lost in translation."