Rick Santorum joins growing Republican voices against Syria intervention

You want some of this? Yeah, you want some.

"I was for it before I was against it -- seriously!"

In an odd turn of events, former Sen. Rick Santorum (D-PA) sent out an email earlier today telling his supporters to oppose military action in Syria—despite being for it last year.

“When these atrocities in Syria came to light last year, I advocated for military intervention to take out the Assad regime, a strong supporter of Iran,” Santorum writes to supporters via his Patriot Voices PAC.  “Had President Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton acted then in support of pro-democracy forces, we could have removed Assad and helped usher in stability for that country.”

He goes on to note that the situation on the ground has changed since he advocated for force in Syria in 2012, and would no longer be in the United States’ best interest.

Santorum, who infamously voted for, and championed, military action in Iraq last decade (and even falsely claimed he had documents proving weapons of mass destruction existed, and were found), is joining a growing number of Republicans who are less than optimistic about getting involved in another middle eastern war, despite it being their chosen gimmick while President George W. Bush was in the White House.

“If [President Obama] firmly believed in his own policy, he would have already acted in Syria,” Santorum continues. “There are no good outcomes here.  An al Qaeda-run Syria is no better than an Assad-Iran-Hezbollah-run Syria.  What is happening there is tragic, but it is not in the United States’ best interest to intervene with a military strike.”

Santorum, as we’ve been writing here, will likely run for president again in 2016. One Democratic candidate Santorum could face—if he wins the nomination—would be former Secretary-of-State Hillary Clinton. That he named her specifically in his criticism is no accident.

020913join1Santorum’s opposition also comes from the idea that al Qaeda has infiltrated the rebel opposition to Syria’s Assad government. This has been prominently displayed through Internet memes of several anonymous members of the U.S. military taking selfies with notecards saying they didn’t join the military to fight on the side of al Qaeda.

Ted Cruz, for instance, a U.S. senator from Texas, recently tipped his hat toward that meme while speaking on Glenn Beck’s website, the Blaze.

“We should be focused on defending the United States of America,” noted Cruz. “That’s why young men and women sign up to join the military, not to, as you know, serve as Al Qaeda’s air force.”

Beck, a conservative who often defended the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan during the Bush years (and sometimes pleaded for an invasion into Iran) opposes a Syrian conflict, too.

But that was before President Obama was in office. A number of Republicans and Republican mouthpieces around the country have voiced opposition to the strike, in addition to some of the hard left who oppose most military intervention. At latest count, Think Progress has noted that about “199 lawmakers have either decisively ruled out supporting the measure or say they are unlikely to back it.”

Additionally, “Just 49 of the 400 members of the House of Representatives said they will definitely or likely vote in favor or the resolution.”

And Rick Santorum hopes to add to that. His PAC has actually set up an online tool to help supporters send an email to their member of Congress opposing military action without any thought. All you’ve got to do is fill out your name and address, press a couple buttons and you’re good to oppose.

The man who replaced Santorum in the Pennsylvania delegation, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, said he plans to vote in favor of a resolution to strike Syria. Sen. Pat Toomey (D-PA), has also voiced nervous support, though says he wants some questions answered taking the plunge.

Follow Randy on Twitter: @RandyLoBasso

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