Over the past weeks, the question of whether the United States should initiate a military strike on Syria has dominated the political landscape in Washington and at home in Arkansas. After Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad purportedly used chemical weapons on his own people, violating a “red line” set by President Obama, suddenly we have found ourselves in a situation where we are dangerously close to intervention.
The response from those of you in Arkansas’ First District has been overwhelming and united across ideological lines. I first attended a classified briefing put on by the White House three weeks ago, long before this had blown up in the public eye as the major issue it has now become. I expressed serious doubts about the necessity of military action and felt unclear about the President’s objectives for an intervention. Once the calls, emails, tweets, and Facebook posts began rolling in, your response fortified my own thoughts and ultimately led to my announcement that I would vote no on any authorization of force resolution, barring a major change in events.
I agree with military officials who say that had the President utilized the options at his disposal a year ago, rather than engaging in empty rhetoric, we could have averted this crisis altogether. Unfortunately, the case has not been sufficiently made that the Syrian conflict is of direct importance to America’s national security and the small strike advocated by the White House has been roundly criticized as unlikely to have any major impact on the Syrian regime or its ability or willingness to carry out a similar chemical weapons attack. In addition, the likelihood that a retaliatory strike from the Syrian regime on our neighboring allies, not least Israel, could occur and drag us into a prolonged military engagement that could involve other nations such as Iran or Russia, is of serious concern.
Ultimately, a lack of leadership and clear vision from the President has cost us credibility on the global stage. The Syrian conflict is not our fight to engage in – and the American people have spoken loud and clear on this issue. As this issue develops, I am keeping your concerns in mind, and look forward to continuing to do so as the First District of Arkansas’ voice in Congress.
Syria Is Not Our Fight