POLITICS
09/03/2013 11:36 am ET | Updated Sep 03, 2013

Newt Gingrich: Syria 'A Distraction,' Obama 'Picked The Wrong Topic' To Debate

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich criticized President Barack Obama for seeking Congressional approval on military action in Syria, saying he "picked the wrong topic on which to have a national debate."

In a CNN op-ed published Tuesday, Gingrich initially praised Obama's decision, saying he "did the right thing in going to Congress for a debate and a vote on a proposed national security action." But Gingrich said there are more important things to debate than "a limited, symbolic, tactical use of power."

"Launching a few missiles at Syria is a tactical action that will not change history," Gingrich writes. "Obama has already pledged that he is seeking a limited engagement and is not trying to replace the dictatorship of President Bashar al-Assad."

Gingrich listed three other topics more worthy of debating than limited military action in Syria -- stopping Iran from getting nuclear weapons; "the threat of radical Islamism"; and defense cuts.

"Both parties in Washington are unprepared for the three debates that matter. Political leaders can now immerse themselves in a debate about a minor action with minimal risk and feel useful," Gingrich writes. "Sometimes it feels as though the national leadership seeks trivia to stay busy so it doesn't have to face the really big issues."

Gingrich encouraged members of Congress to vote "no" on military action in Syria.

Click here to read the op-ed from Gingrich.

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