By last Thursday, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., had heard enough about President Barack Obama's plan for a military attack on Syria - and what the Mountain State lawmaker heard worried him.
Manchin revealed Thursday he will not vote to authorize use of military force against Syria. His decision was made after attending the critical Senate hearings on the matter and seeking counsel from outside government.
As Manchin put it, deciding whether to vote in favor of an attack "is one of the most serious decisions I have ever made." Like many other senators and members of the House of Representatives, Manchin has approached the question in a spirit of nonpartisanship. His announcement Thursday put him squarely in opposition to his party's president.
But that is how West Virginians expect our lawmakers to conduct themselves in Washington - representing their constituents and demonstrating leadership to do what is best for our nation and state, not what politics may seem to dictate.
There are options other than an attack against Syria to deal with concern about that country's chemical weapons, Manchin suggests. He is right, and Obama would do well to listen to him and others who oppose an assault that could have unforeseen, tragic consequences.