I share your concerns regarding a U.S. military strike against Syrian forces. Fortunately, it now appears that, with Russia’s help, we may be able to rid Syria of chemical weapons without military action. Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime is under attack by several factions in the country’s civil war. The United Nations has reported that, since 2011, thousands have been killed by Assad’s forces, with tens of thousands more arrested and imprisoned. Recently, following reports of President Assad and his forces using chemical weapons against civilians, President Obama announced that the U.S. would retaliate by issuing a military strike against Syria. Shortly thereafter, the President announced his decision to ask for Congressional approval before proceeding with military action.
Since the President’s announcement, people have stopped me almost everywhere I’ve been to express their disapproval with U.S. involvement in Syria. My office has been bombarded with an overwhelming number of phone calls, e-mails, letters, Facebook posts and Twitter messages – the vast majority of which expressing opposition to a military strike (according to my most recent tally: nearly 40-to-1 against Syria involvement). I also conducted a survey to hear constituent views on military involvement in Syria that I distributed throughout the community and social media. The response was overwhelming: 93% of participants are against intervention in Syria.
When I was first interviewed on this issue, my initial response was that I was intending to vote “No” on approving a military strike, but I wanted to see what the Administration presented at classified Syria briefings with Congress. After attending multiple high-level briefings with Secretary of State John Kerry and National Security Advisor Susan Rice, I am even more firmly convinced we should not become involved at this time. Some of the reasons I oppose a Syria attack are:
- Our country’s involvement could further destabilize an unstable region.
- There is no clear mission or desired outcome articulated to Congress or the American people.
- We should not be doing this alone. If we were to get involved, it should be as part of a large coalition of our allies and with the support of the U.N.
- Proceeding with military action in Syria could lead to another war on par with Iraq or Afghanistan.
Despite my opposition to U.S. involvement, I am appalled by the brutal treatment and the killings of Assad’s own citizens and support the Syrian people in their effort to rid themselves of the Assad regime. I find the use of chemical weapons reprehensible. On the other hand, it’s my elected responsibility to serve the people I represent in Congress. The people of the 27th District have spoken: Texans don’t want to go to war in Syria. That said, I’ll be expressing the views of the people I represent and will not support U.S. involvement in Syria’s civil war.