Maui News

Gabbard to Vote Against Military Force in Syria

September 9, 2013, 8:01 AM HST
* Updated September 9, 8:03 AM
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Tulsi Gabbard. Courtesy photo.

Tulsi Gabbard. Courtesy photo.

By Wendy Osher

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has announced her “strong opposition” to a US military intervention in Syria, saying a military strike against Syria would be “a serious mistake.”

In a statement issued today, Rep. Gabbard said she will vote against a resolution that authorizes the use of military force in the region saying “Syria does not present a direct security threat to the US.”

She said even a limited strike could “easily escalate into a regional conflict, stretching thin a military that has been at war for more than 12 years.”

In a statement issued today, Rep. Gabbard said that while “Americans are saddened and angered by the carnage that has resulted from the use of these chemical weapons,” she remains, “unconvinced that this military strike would eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons or prevent them from being used again.”

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Rep. Gabbard said she came to her decision after attending a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing and several classified briefings with Administration officials.

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Gabbard’s full statement is as follows:

“I am sickened and outraged by the carnage and loss of lives caused by the use of chemical weapons in Syria. It is with gravity that I have carefully considered all the facts, arguments, and evidence and soberly weighed concerns regarding our national security and moral responsibility. As a result, I have come to the conclusion that a US military strike against Syria would be a serious mistake.

I will therefore vote against a resolution that authorizes the use of military force in Syria. I will also strongly urge my colleagues to do the same.

The reasons behind my decision are many. Here are a few:

· As a soldier, I understand that before taking any military action, our nation must have a clear tactical objective, a realistic strategy, the necessary resources to execute that strategy—including the support of the American people—and an exit plan. The proposed military action against Syria fails to meet any of these criteria.

· Presently, Syria does not present a direct security threat to the United States. Military action will undermine our national defense, as even a limited strike could very easily escalate into a regional conflict, stretching thin a military that has been at war for more than 12 years.

· We should learn from history; we cannot afford to be the world’s policeman. The United States should not insert itself in the midst of this civil war, which is rooted in sectarian hatred and animosity between various warring religious groups.

· All Americans are saddened and angered by the carnage that has resulted from the use of these chemical weapons. However, even after the many hearings and classified briefings I have attended, I am unconvinced that this military strike would eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons or prevent them from being used again. Indeed, the risk may increase, due to the possibility these weapons could fall into the hands of Syrian opposition group factions such as Al-Qaida, who we can be confident would use them without hesitation.”

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