Boehner ‘insulted’ by Putin opinion piece on Syria

By Sophia Lindsey

Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON - House Speaker John Boehner said today he was “insulted’’ by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s opinion piece in the New York Times in which he wrote the Russians were “not protecting the Syrian government, but international law.’’

Putin, who has been the staunchest ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and still suggests the Syrian rebels are responsible for the use of chemical weapons last month, caused a stir among members of the House and Senate.

In addition to Boehner, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., posted on Twitter that Putin’s op-ed was “an insult to the intelligence of every American.’’

Putin wrote that a potential U.S. military strike would only lead to “more innocent victims and escalation.’’ He blamed the chemical attack on opposition forces, claiming they were trying to “provoke intervention by their powerful foreign patrons.’’

Putin also delivered a shot against President Barack Obama who Tuesday night said that “with modest effort and risk, we can stop children from being gassed to death and thereby make our own children safer over the long run, I believe we should act. That’s what makes America different. That’s what makes us exceptional.’’

Instead, Putin wrote “it is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.’’

The Russian government Monday proposed that Syria’s chemical weapons be placed under international control. U.S. and Russian diplomats are attempting to agree on a resolution that would be placed before the United Nations Security Council for its approval.

But Boehner expressed his doubts about the motives of both the Syrian regime and Russia, saying “we have national security interest in stopping the use of chemical weapons in Syria and around the world.”

“I’ve got real doubts about the motives of the Russians and President Assad in offering this current path,’’ Boehner said. “But now that the president has made the decision to delay any authorization vote, I hope that a diplomatic solution can be found.’’

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