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Sen. Kaine: U.S. strategy in Syria ‘a joke’

Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia on Thursday called the Obama administration's strategy in Syria “a joke.”

Speaking on the Chesapeake-based John Fredericks Show, the Virginia Democrat rhetorically asked, “What is the strategy?”

Kaine has been a consistent critic of both the president and Congress for failing to adopt a war authorization against the Islamic State.

“In Syria, the strategy is a joke. You know, we do these one-off actions like try to train 30 people and put them back into a roiling civil war involving millions,” Kaine said. “No surprise, they get swallowed up in the civil war war – killed or captured or defect immediately.”

A member of both the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees, Kaine is a former Democratic National Committee chairman.

Kaine called the Syrian migrant crisis -- one that has displaced millions of families -- “heartbreaking.”

“All of this is because the nations of the West – and the U.S. is right there on the fault list with everybody else – we haven't come up with a real strategy about what to do with respect to Syria,” he said.

The commonwealth's junior senator said he would like to see Congress work toward enacting a humanitarian zone to enforce United Nations' resolutions that call for cross-border delivery of aid into Syria. That idea, which Kaine conceded would be a challenge, has been suggested by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

The Democrat said he is in support of the billions worth of aid the U.S. has pledged for refugees.

“The one thing we do that's not an accident, that we do well, is we do provide significant – more than $4 billion dollars – of humanitarian aide to Syrian refugees,” Kaine said.

Islamic State fighters have battled with Syrian forces inside the fractured country for more than a year.

Kaine believes the current conflict against the Islamic State requires an authorization from Congress -- something that's been absent since fighting began in August 2014.

"I criticize the president for not quickly getting to Congress a clear strategy with an authorization. But my major criticism is of Congress. We have an Article 1 responsibility -- whether or not the president sends over an authorization -- we have an Article 1 responsibility to be owners of this."


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