Robert Gates-Syria: Former Defense secretary urges support for Obama's Syria resolution.

Robert Gates Backs Obama on Syria

Robert Gates Backs Obama on Syria

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Sept. 5 2013 9:42 AM

Robert Gates Backs Obama on Syria

Robert Gates inspects soldiers, airmen, Marines, sailors and guardsmen during his Armed Forces Farewell Tribute on the River Parade Field at the Pentagon June 30, 2011 in Arlington, Va.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Robert Gates, who served as George W. Bush's last Defense secretary and President Obama's first, has lent his support to the president's push for military intervention in Syria. Here's the statement:

"I strongly urge the Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, to approve the president's request for authorization to use force in Syria. Whatever one's views on current U.S. policy toward Syria, failure by Congress to approve the request would, in my view, have profoundly negative and dangerous consequences for the United States not just in the Middle East but around the world both now and in the future."

Gates had previously been quiet on the topic. While his backing is unlikely to have a drastic impact on the public debate, it could, as Politico notes, help Obama make the case to skeptical lawmakers who are on the fence on whether to vote for the use-of-force resolution that is expected to come up for a vote in the next week or two.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City.