He could have followed precedent set by presidents of both parties and launched missiles under his powers as commander in chief. In an America tired by 12 years of continuous warfare (the longest in our history), however, it was wise to engage the American people through their elected representatives in the Congress.
Unfortunately, the president picked the wrong topic on which to have a national debate. Launching a few missiles at Syria is a tactical action that will not change history. Obama has already pledged that he is seeking a limited engagement and is not trying to replace the dictatorship of President Bashar al-Assad. Read more ...
Newt Gingrich is the new co-cost of CNN's "Crossfire," which makes its debut on Monday.
Rand Paul: Obama, don't rush into war
From a strategic standpoint, there are three questions that should always be asked and sufficiently answered before going to war: What is the U.S. national interest? What is the military objective? What is the exit strategy? Concerning Syria, these questions not only haven't been answered, they haven't even been asked.
War should never be treated as a crapshoot. Our troops deserve better. America deserves better. Read more ...
Rand Paul, a Republican, is a U.S. senator from Kentucky.
Fareed Zakaria: Obama team has mishandled Syria
I don't think that this strike, should it eventually take place, will be as damaging as its critics fear. The al-Assad regime will likely hunker down, take it and move on. It will make little difference one way or the other. But the manner in which the Obama administration has first created and then mismanaged this crisis will, alas, cast a long shadow on America's role in the world. Read more ...
Fareed Zakaria is the host of GPS, which airs Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.
Peter Bergen: Obama, a realist and risk-taker
We can be sure that in the next days, the administration will make the argument that if you let Syria take a pass on its large-scale and repeated use of chemical weapons, you can forget any chance of slowing or ending Iran's nuclear program, something that is a matter of great importance for much of the Republican Party.
For those on the left of the Democratic Party in Congress who are generally skeptical of U.S. military actions, Obama can essentially ask, "If not now, when?" At what point will self-described liberals intervene to stop the use of weapons so vile that they have been banned by the civilized world for almost a century? Read more ...
Peter Bergen is CNN's national security analyst, a director at the New America Foundation and the author of "Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for bin Laden -- From 9/11 to Abbottabad."
Laurie Garrett: Chemical weapons are a nightmare for Syrians
According to Vice President Joe Biden, there is "no doubt" that chemical weapons were used by the regime -- and not, as the al-Assad government has claimed, by rebel forces.
The victims suffered terrible and painful deaths. Many experts are concluding that most likely, a nerve agent such as sarin was deployed. Sarin is a type of organophosphate, a class of chemicals used for making herbicides, insecticides and nerve gases.
The effects of sarin and other organophosphates on the human body are profound and shocking and can be long-lasting. Some exposures have left the surviving victims paralyzed for weeks, with perhaps permanent liver malfunctions and lingering neurological dysfunctions.
Organophosphates disintegrate in a matter of hours. But during their comparatively brief period of volatile danger, the deadly molecules can pass through human skin, nostrils, lungs and eyes to enter the bloodstream and then the brain. If enough of it gets inside the brain to saturate the nervous system, an agonizing death follows. Read more ...
Laurie Garrett is senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations and a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist.
Alex Castellanos: GOP shouldn't bail out Obama's floundering foreign policy
Our president is lost at sea again, in an ocean of equally bad options.
This president is an intellectual. He seems to believe war is the failure of lesser minds to find a reasonable alternative. Does President Barack Obama take America to war in Syria when, by disposition, such barbarism is not in him? Or does our president do nothing, permitting the continued slaughter of innocents while Bashar al-Assad dances across the bright "red line" painted by the leader of the free world?
Bad options all around. It was not out of character for this uncertain man to leave even his cherished golf game to reverse the course his secretary of state charted only 24 hours before. Read more...
Alex Castellanos, a CNN contributor, is a Republican consultant and the co-founder of Purple Strategies. Follow him on Twitter: @alexcast