From the Sept. 3, 2013 Congressional Research Service Report, Possible U.S. Intervention in Syria: Issues for Congress:
Members of Congress have expressed a broad range of views on the question of an immediate U.S. military response, with some expressing support for military action and others expressing opposition or questioning how a military response would advance U.S. policy goals in Syria and beyond. For more than two years, many Members of Congress have debated the potential rewards and unintended consequences of deeper U.S. involvement in Syria. Some Members have expressed concern that the Administration’s policy of providing support to the fractured Syrian opposition could empower anti-American extremist groups, while others have warned that failure to back moderate forces in Syria could prolong the conflict and create opportunity for extremists.
As Members of Congress consider the merits of possible military intervention in Syria, they also are reengaging in long-standing discussions about the proper role for Congress in authorizing and funding U.S. military action abroad and the efficacy of the use of force in shaping global events or deterring dictatorships from committing atrocities. This report poses and attempts to provide answers to a number of policy questions for lawmakers grappling with these short- and long-term issues.