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Congressman Walz Comments on Syria

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MANKATO, Minn. -

"No one's denying the reckless disregard for human rights of Assad over several years of civil war and now crossing into chemical weapons. But the purpose of [the letter to President Obama pushing for Congressional approval of any military action in Syria] is that these types of decisions should, Constitutionally, go through Congress. The American people need to vet this.

I think the question I have is that – no one is denying that the act needs a response; the question is what's the appropriate response. What is the best interest of the United States and are all options being considered before going forward. My colleagues and I sent the letter simply asking the President to do what needs to be done and come to Congress, let's have this debate, made sure the American people's voices are heard and make sure that plan is clearly articulated."

 

"This is not a clear-cut case of picking one side or the other. Even assuming everything goes well, and there's no historical precedent that a military strike ever does that – but assuming you get exactly what you want, removing the Assad regime won't stop this civil war. It may well could exacerbate it and spread the chemical weapons elsewhere. What has to be done here is there are multiple ways that you need to approach the situation and it's a dangerous situation, very trying one. It's going to mean, first and foremost, building coalitions of the rest of the world to conduct this and try to isolate the Assad regime.

I'm still unconvinced in any way that… even assuming that you could do exactly what you're planning to do with a military strike, I see no evidence that the ends achieve our objectives. Unless the objective is simply to punish Assad. We've got to take into consideration what's in the best interest of long-term U.S. security, as well as the Syrian people.

This is complex – the issue of chemical weapons is unacceptable in a civilized world in any way, shape or form. But conventional munitions have killed 100,000 Syrians, and we've had three years to look at that. So I think this rush, when I start seeing things about a deadline – I don't think that's the proper way to go about this, and I'm hearing from my constituents that congress needs to do this."

 

"If we're going to use U.S. force or U.S. troops, it needs to be a high bar. I'm glad some of my colleagues agreed with this. It does not matter to me which administration is in the White House. Ceding power for the use of military force to the White House has been a mistake since the War Powers Act. It continues to be one."

 

"I feel somewhat disappointed. I think there needs to be some consistency on this. I'm not going to question the motives of my Republican friends, they're right on this. They're right in their expression. I know there have been many who say, ‘these people were silent when President Bush was in office'. That really doesn't matter to me at this point. They are right about this. They're articulating the right constitutional stand on it. And I would be remiss if I didn't say I'm somewhat disappointed that there aren't more voices on our side of the aisle questioning and slowing this down."