Monday, September 01, 2014

Kansas Congressional delegation opposes US action in Syria

By The Herald Staff | 9/2/2013

WASHINGTON — Following news this weekend that President Obama had reversed his position on seeking Congressional approval for a strike on Syria, members of the Sunflower State’s delegation to Washington appeared unmoved in their opposition to military action.

“Congress will soon use its Constitutionally vested power to debate and vote on whether to intervene in Syria,” U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., said Saturday. “America cannot afford another conflict that taxes our resources without achieving goals that advance American interests, and I will not support authorizing military action against Syria at this time.”

WASHINGTON — Following news this weekend that President Obama had reversed his position on seeking Congressional approval for a strike on Syria, members of the Sunflower State’s delegation to Washington appeared unmoved in their opposition to military action.

“Congress will soon use its Constitutionally vested power to debate and vote on whether to intervene in Syria,” U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., said Saturday. “America cannot afford another conflict that taxes our resources without achieving goals that advance American interests, and I will not support authorizing military action against Syria at this time.”

Obama last week announced plans for a “limited and narrow” strike against Syria in retaliation for Syrian President Bashar Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons against his people in the country’s ongoing civil war. The U.S. president and his foreign policy team initially said it would move forward with military action without seeking authorization for the strike from the U.S. Congress.

Deploying chemical weapons is a violation of international law, but the international community, including the United Nations, has not joined in the call for an attack on Assad’s regime. An Aug. 21 attack in Syria is said to have killed 1,400 people, many of them children. Assad’s government has blamed the chemical weapons deaths on the work of terrorists.

Representatives from the United States, France and NATO spent the weekend briefing lawmakers and appearing in the media in attempts to make the case for an operation in Syria. Presentations sought to assure the public and American officials that the attacks were led by the Syrian government — not terrorists.

“While the recent chemical attack on Syrian citizens is an atrocious crime, it is still unclear who is on the other side of this conflict,” U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., said Wednesday. “As such, I am opposed to the United States entering into military action in Syria. The United States of America cannot continue to act as the world’s police force in areas of the world where our help is not wanted. Even if opposition forces are willing to enter into a marriage of convenience in the short term, given what we know, we cannot and must not choose sides in this conflict and send America’s blood and treasure fighting on behalf of elements infected with Al Qaeda who do not like us, do not share our values, and mean to do us harm in the long term.”

Jenkins said this weekend she was happy the president appeared willing to seek Congressional approval for a U.S. strike, according to media reports, but her position opposing such a strike remained unchanged.

U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts last week said he doubted the United States could avoid a military operation in Syria, and acknowledged Congress likely would approve a U.S.-led attack if Obama asked. The veteran lawmaker seemed less confident in the Obama administration’s plans Sunday, however, saying the strike lacks a meaningful coalition of allies, a detailed plan of action and a clear exit strategy, according to the Topeka Capital-Journal.

“I am especially troubled, based on today’s briefing, that the president wants open-ended authority,” Roberts said Sunday, explaining the withholding of his support for the attack. “That doesn’t square with his highly publicized statement for limited action.”

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