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Alan Grayson UNLOADS on “Warmongering” and “Hubris”

Congressman tells Salon about leading the opposition to Syria vote, and the difference between Democrats and GOP

BY DAVID DAYEN | Salon.com

Despite only his second term in Congress, Alan Grayson has had a major impact on the most important debate of the year. He put himself into a vocal leadership position in opposition to military action in Syria, and after weeks of organizing, the crisis has apparently dissipated without ever having to take a vote.

The pact between Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to secure and dispose of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles takes military strikes off the table for now, as well as reinforcing the ban on chemical warfare and re-establishing the primacy of the United Nations in international crises. Grayson, in a message to supporters last week, exulted, “we have shown that Peace can be more powerful than War.”

In an interview on Friday, Salon talked to Grayson about how the drive for war broke down this time around, the differences between how Democrats and Republicans viewed the situation, and the troubling lack of transparency from the Administration on the intelligence used to justify military force. Following is a transcript of that conversation.

So what’s the latest on Syria? Is the Administration trying to still get an authorization for military force as a backup for the diplomatic process?

Well, warmongering is something that’s always attempted. Every hour, every day, every month and every week. But the Administration simply has no way to persuade the House under current circumstances. There’s no way to get a majority out of the House to support armed intervention. The current whip count in the Washington Post is 26 in favor, 251 against. And those are accurate numbers, if anything they understate the case. I’ve spoken to supposedly undecided members who are keeping quiet about their opposition out of respect to the Administration. So they can try, but it’s not going to happen.

So why did this work this time? I mean, recent history shows that America is not exactly shy about approving of military action.

Once every 40 months, yes.

So what was different? Is it just war fatigue generally, or something unique to the Syria situation? Why were you so successful in building a massive coalition against a rush to war?

Some people have different points of view. Republican members by and large think this isn’t a valid use of the U.S. military. They believe in the Powell doctrine, that you don’t go to war with no strategy, no overwhelming force, and no way out. Republicans believe the purpose of the military is to defend America, defend our allies and that’s it. And this Syria action doesn’t fall into any of those categories. That’s particularly true among constitutionalists.

Continue at Salon