Congressional Quotes Against Military Intervention in Syria, Part II

Statements by Members of Congress Opposing Military Intervention


(N to Z)

Rep. Nunes (R-CA)- “The apparent chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime is an appalling, unconscionable act by a bloodthirsty tyrant. The ‘limited’ military response supported by President Obama, however, shows no clear goal, tactical objective, or in fact any coherence whatsoever, and is supported neither by myself nor the American people. President Obama has gone from leading from behind, to not leading at all, to now hiding behind Congress. This is not a winning strategy.” [09/01/13]

Rep. Neal (D-MA)- “Every diplomatic option ought to be exhausted before the United States and its international partners contemplate any military action in the region.” [09/03/13]

Rep. Nolan (D-MN)- “I will vote and work against President Obama’s request for open-ended authority to launch military strikes against the Syrian army. After a three-hour classified briefing, and taking time to read all the classified documents, what I have heard and read has only served to convince me more than ever of the folly and danger of getting America involved in the Syrian civil war.” [09/03/13]

Rep. Nolan (D-MN)- “Beyond the potential for escalating the conflict and the killing, we risk danger to our ally Israel, involvement by the Russians and the Iranians, and blowback to the United States by radical groups operating in the region.” [09/03/13]

Rep. Nugent (R-FL)- “Dear Mr. President, As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, and as the duly elected representative of over six hundred thousand American citizens, I write you today to express my sincere concerns about your potential military action against Syria. On grounds both practical and principled, your apparent intention to proceed to war has not been justified.” [08/30/13]

Rep. Poe (R-TX)- “The president has laid down his red line. Now I think he has to save face, so to speak, and shoot missiles into Syria.” [08/30/13]

Rep. Paulsen (R-MN)- “I believe the President’s request for military action in Syria is too broad, too open-ended, too risky and does not identify a clear U.S. national interest for military engagement and putting U.S. troops in harms way,” said Paulsen in a Sept. 1 statement. [09/05/13]

Rep. Peterson (D-MN)- “What’s going on in Syria is deplorable, but at this point, I don’t see how U.S. military action will accomplish anything toward ending the turmoil over there or helping the people of Syria which is my main concern. Along with my constituents, I am opposed to intervention.  I am willing to listen to the President and others, but I haven’t heard anything at this point that will change my mind.” [09/03/13]

Rep. Pocan (D-WI)- “A strong discussion occurred today, however I am still not convinced that there is a compelling national security interest that necessitates a military response, solely or largely borne by the United States. We need to engage the international community to find the appropriate response to the use of chemical weapons, and to do so will require a much broader discussion with all proper options given full consideration. The use of chemical weapons is completely unacceptable, but this is an issue that is best addressed by the international community. I look forward to reviewing the United Nations report as we move forward in this discussion.” (09/01/13)

Rep. Rohrabacher (R-CA)- “While I remain hopeful the Syrian people can achieve their freedom, history has proven successful revolutions must be a bottom-up effort. Given stated U.S. objectives and fears of a deeper power vacuum in Syria, the U.S. would have limited potential to decisively shape the overall outcome. Furthermore, opposition forces consist of various factions with ties to terrorist groups, leaving both sides of this conflict dominated by forces opposed not only to American interests but American values. Success, and failure, in the end will be determined by the Syrian people. Therefore, I will vote against any resolution approving America’s military engagement in the Syrian conflict.” [Letter to Constituent, 09/06/13]

Rep. Rohrabacher (R-CA)- The American people are war weary. We should pay attention to their common sense. We should not engage in conflicts around the world unless they directly affect our national security. This is not the case with Syria.  Both sides of the Syrian conflict are dominated by forces opposed not only to American interests but to American values.  For those who say we should intervene against Assad because he’s a dictator, we should have learned our lesson in Iraq, which cost us the lives of 6,000 Americans and tens of thousands wounded, not to mention a trillion dollars added to the debt that hangs around the necks of the American people.  Even worse, those we sacrificed for are not grateful.  Getting involved in Syria would be even worse because it would indicate we haven’t learned our lesson.  America should not retreat from the world, nor can we police the world.  Our military should not be engaged in any way in the Syrian conflict. I will therefore vote against any resolution approving America’s military engagement in the Syrian conflict. [09/04/13]

Rep. Radel (R-FL)- Radel said he understands the threat of chemical weapons, but still has a lot of questions. He wants to know how officials plan to prevent the loss of American lives and what the end goal is. “As an American, and one who represents and serves an area with a lot of veterans, I am very hesitant to throw our armed forces into another conflict in the Middle East and that said, the President and his administration are going to have to convince a lot of us,” Radel said. [09/02/13]

Rep. Reed (R-NY)- “After hearing from several hundred constituents at our Syria listening sessions and from phone calls and emails to our office, it is clear United States military action in Syria is not what residents of the 23rd district want,” Reed said. “Absent some compelling information, I remain opposed to action and share many of the same concerns constituents have presented to me. Constituents are concerned about being drawn into a lengthy conflict which may ultimately require increased involvement and put American lives at risk.” [09/05/13]

Rep. Renacci (R-OH)- “There can be no doubt that the use of chemical weapons is a horrific and deplorable act, one that should be rejected by the entire international community. However, I have waited for President Obama and his Administration to lay out a clear goal for American military action in Syria and to define our mission there. To date, I do not believe they have done so. In fact, the President has shown a shocking lack of leadership to this point, even before he punted the issue to Congress. I also maintain my deep concern that through these strikes we may assist some rebel groups that have been infiltrated by radical Islamist elements like Al Qaeda. Therefore, at this time I cannot vote to put American men and women in harm’s way in any capacity as it pertains to Syria.” [09/05/13]

Rep. Roe (R-TN)- “The President’s case is entitled to a fair hearing from all of us because when it comes to matters of war and peace, we are Americans first. So when I return to Washington next week, I will review the classified documents about the Syrian government’s use of these weapons. Knowing what I know now, however, I do not think engagement in Syria is warranted or in our country’s national interest.” [09/04/13]

Rep. Runyan (R-NJ)- “As Congress reviews the evidence and begins debate, I know both Republicans and Democrats will have strong concerns about U.S. engagement in what many view as a civil war, and whether doing so is truly in our national security interests.  Additionally, after weekend briefings with the House Armed Services Committee, I also have strong concerns regarding our Military Readiness based on the fact that billions of dollars have been slashed from the DoD budget – which is just one reason why we must fully debate the issues at hand. To engage in additional missions without doing so would be shortsighted.” [09/03/13]

Rep. Reed (D-RI) and Rep. McCaul (R-TX)- “We can’t let ourselves get into a situation where this becomes a springboard for a general military option. We have to verify that it was directed by the Assad regime because that will allow us to build an international coalition because that will allow us to take any further steps in Syria.” [08/25/13]

Rep. Rigell (R-VA)- “It is a broad document and given the specificity with the president has been speaking on this, it is a little difficult to reconcile what he’s asked for with the document that is now before us.” [09/01/13]

 Rep. Ross (R-FL)- “There are still more questions to be answered and now the president will need to make the case to all Americans why our involvement in Syria is necessary for our national security. I do not support the use of military force in Syria at this time. I stand ready to debate and vote NOW!” [09/01/13]

Rep. Ross (R-FL)- “It’s interesting the president hasn’t made congress relevant in his administration until now. So, if we don’t approve it he might consider us irrelevant again.” [09/01/13]

 Rep. Rangel (D-NY)- “There’s absolutely no question I would vote ‘no,’ because there’s so many questions even if the draft was not reinstated. Under what authority do we place our young man and women in harm’s way without the UN national security, without the UN, without Great Britain, without France, without anybody supporting us?” [08/31/13]

Rep. Rangel (D-NY)- “We intend to wage a so-called “limited war,” when there is, in fact, no such thing. We applaud President Barack Obama’s decision to seek congressional approval for U.S. involvement in Syria. However Syria is not an American problem; it is an international problem requiring an international solution. [09/05/13]

Rep. Rangel (D-NY)- “America seems increasingly inclined to engage in a new military conflict every few years, faced with a new populace to defend, a new democracy to design, and a new dictator to dethrone.  We intend to wage a so-called “limited war,” when there is, in fact, no such thing.  It is unfortunate that we don’t give enough thought on why and how we decide to get involved, and who we send into harm’s way when we do…Moreover, we need not add U.S. weaponry to the Syrian conflict. We have seen enough killing; we don’t need to increase the casualties, especially at a high cost to America’s taxpayers.  For every Tomahawk missile America might use in Syria—at cost estimates ranging from $607,000 to $1.4 million or more, the total costs will likely exceed Libya’s bill of over $1 billion in a “limited war,” or in the billions according to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey for extended operations—consider how we could better use those monies to win hearts and minds abroad or help Americans here at home.” [09/05/13]

Rep. Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)- “So far he (Obama) doesn’t have congressional authority, he doesn’t have the American people with him, and he doesn’t have an international coalition .So there are big hurdles that he’s got to go through.”[09/01/13]

Rep. Scott (D-GA)- “There are regimes poisoning their people, shooting their people from the Congo of Africa all over the world. Do we go to every place?” [08/30/13]

Rep. Sinema (D-AZ)- I have serious concerns that greater involvement – such as a military strike – may force the United States into a larger military role, putting our service members in harm’s way.” [08/30/13]

Rep. Smith (D-WA)- We’re not in a position to stop Assad from using chemical weapons. So telling the entire world we’re going to do that, I think is a big risk,” said. “If Iraq and Afghanistan have taught us anything, I would hope it would teach us the limitation of U.S. military force to fix problems. It’s not that we don’t care; it’s not that we don’t want to help. It’s that getting in the middle of a civil war and stopping the violence, is an enormously difficult thing to do.” [09/04/13]

Rep. Smith (D-WA)- “Above all else, I am worried that such action could drag the United States into a broader direct involvement in the conflict. Simply lashing out with military force under the banner of ‘doing something’ will not secure our interests in Syria[08/31/13]

Rep. Salmon (R-AZ)- “During today’s hearing, the Obama Administration had an opportunity to make their case for military intervention in Syria’s long-standing civil war. After listening to today’s testimony, I am, at this time, opposed to the use of U.S. military force because the Administration failed to present a convincing argument that the events in Syria pose a clear threat to America, failed to list a strong coalition of nations willing to support military attacks, and failed to articulate a clear definition of victory. While the use of chemical weapons should not be tolerated by any nation or regime, the Administration has not clearly answered these important questions, and therefore, has yet to convince the American people that military action is necessary at this time.” [09/04/13]

Rep. Sanford (R-SC)- Congressman Sanford was one of the first from the Palmetto State to come out against the President’s plan, saying the public’s opinion should weigh in heavily before a strike is given a green light. “Body bags don’t go back to Washington,” said Sanford. “They go back to Memphis, Tennessee and Charleston, South Carolina and a lot of other little towns in-between.” [09/04/13]

Rep. Scott (R-GA)- Scott, a first-term Republican, made it clear that he believes Syria is not a burning issue for the U.S. He believes President Obama is using the recent chemical attack on civilians there as a distraction from pressing issues at home. “There are public published reports where this was the sixth or seventh time, depending on which public report you read, that there had been a use of chemical weapons in the country,” Scott said. “So why now? Why is this the ‘red line’ with nine (legislative) days left in our fiscal year…I’m tired of the U.S. getting involved in other countries’ individual disputes,” he said to a rumbling of support from a majority of the audience. “As sad as what happened (in Syria) is, we can’t physically do it all.” [09/06/13]

Rep. Serrano (D-NY)- “I have grave doubts about the wisdom of involving our nation in another war in the Middle East. I cannot vote in favor of this authorization because I believe that the outcome of strikes on Syria is unpredictable, and unlikely to be in our nation’s interests. I fear setting off a chain of events which leads to American soldiers fighting and dying in the Middle East yet again, for reasons that are not clear and persuasive.” [09/05/13]

Rep. Shea-Porter (D-NH)- “After attending classified and unclassified briefings on Syria and speaking with people across New Hampshire, at this point, I oppose the United States taking military action against the Assad regime in Syria. While Syrian President Assad has committed vicious crimes against his own people, and I especially condemn the use of chemical weapons, it is hard to see at this time how a military air strike against Syria will fix this. If the United States launches a sustained and heavy attack, we run the risk of swapping Assad out for some equally ruthless group. If we launch a smaller, targeted attack, we run the risk of emboldening President Assad and causing more casualties.” [09/03/13]

Rep. Shimkus (R-IL)- Likewise, Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, raised questions about the consequence of military action against Syria. “If a military strike is a declaration of war, do we want to go down this path with Syria?” Shimkus asked. “A strike, although ‘limited’, could very well be the spark for the tinder that engages the United States in another drawn out campaign in the Middle East,” Shimkus said in a statement. [09/03/13]

Rep. Smith (R-MO)- “In the Constitution, our Founding Fathers gave Congress the authority to authorize military action. Congress should use that authority to determine the best course of action in dealing with Syria. I have serious concerns about any military involvement in Syria because the situation has no clear national securities connections to the United States and victory of any proposed military action has not been defined.  We should not put our men and women in uniform in harm’s way without clear objectives and a sensible strategy.” [09/03/13]

Rep. Southerland (R-FL)- “The President is right to seek authorization from Congress before launching military action, in accordance with the 1973 War Powers Act. While Syria’s Bashar al-Assad is a tyrant and a threat to his people’s freedoms, I share the concerns of many Americans who are weary of launching a mission that is currently undefined and lacks a clear end game. I look forward hearing from my constituents and bringing their perspectives to the table when Congress reconvenes.” [08/31/13]

Rep. Schrader (D-OR) – “Our security is not at stake. What we need right here at the Labor Day picnic is to create jobs and get our own economy going. We don’t want to spend any more damn money in some foreign country when people are suffering here at home.” [09/02/13]

Rep. Schrader (D-OR)- “I appreciate the President seeking the participation of Congress before committing to U.S. military action in Syria. However, I remain opposed to authorizing the unilateral use of U.S. forces—limited or not—without strong international support and clear, attainable objectives. The use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime is reprehensible, but without attainable objectives tied to a clear strategy, direct military intervention by the U.S. is a mistake that will lead to numerous unforeseen consequences. We should continue to work with our international partners to end the violence in Syria through other means. Our nation has much bigger economic security issues at home that more greatly threaten our nation.” [09/04/13]

Rep. Schiff (D-CA)- “The White House has put forward a proposed bill authorizing the use of force that, as drafted, is far too broad and open ended, and could be used to justify everything from a limited cruise missile strike to a no fly zone and the introduction of American ground troops. As drafted, I will not support it. Having introduced a bill in Congress to sunset the existing authorization to use military force in one conflict, I am loathe to support another unless it were very narrowly drawn. In my discussion with the White House, I told them the draft would need to be reined in significantly to have any chance of passage.” [09/03/13]

 Rep. Turner (R-OH)- “There are significant risks to launching an attack on Syria and we don’t know who we are fighting for. The President has mishandled this situation from the very beginning and shown a complete lack of leadership with his imaginary red line.” [08/31/13]

Rep. Turner (R-OH)- “I will not support any funding request for an attack until the President acts to remove the burdens of sequestration from our military.” [09/02/13]

Rep. Tierney (D-MA)- “The United States doesn’t always have to be the most outraged and the most aggressive.” [08/28/13]

Rep. Tonko (D-NY)- Rep. Paul Tonko says he “very concerned” about the prospect of military action in Syria, and suggested he would buck President Barack Obama and vote against any resolution in Congress to authorize airstrikes. “There’s no denying that people being gassed, youngsters being gassed, is horrific, immoral and unacceptable, but I think we need to move with caution because of many dynamics. Going it alone, further draining the taxpayers and further exhausting the troops makes for a very difficult situation, and I hope we tread cautiously here.” [09/02/13]

Rep. Wolf (R-VA)- “That said, in all candor, I continue to have deep reservations about any U.S military action in Syria.  While I deplore the use of chemical weapons, and have been grieved by the images out of Syria, especially those involving innocent children, I remain concerned that any U.S. military action could embolden – and even strategically aid – the radical Al Qaeda-connected jihadist element that is increasingly present among the legitimate Syrian opposition.  Further, additional civilian casualties must be weighed along with the catalyzing effect that the images of these casualties will most assuredly have on individuals and groups throughout the Middle East who already possess deep animosity toward our nation.” [09/02/13]

Rep. Williams (R-TX)- “It’s reprehensible for any nation to use chemical weapons, especially on its own people.  For weeks now, the President and his administration have broadcast to the world what a U.S. response to these horrific acts might entail.  Unfortunately, this has given the Assad regime ample time to protect any military targets.  After attending a classified briefing by the White House on Sunday, I am not convinced that attacking Syria and putting our soldiers at risk is in the best interest of our national security. While I support the President seeking Congressional approval, at this time I cannot and will not support U.S. military intervention in Syria.” [09/03/13]

Rep. Whitfield (R-KY)- “I will not support President Obama’s request to authorize missile strikes in Syria. The President has not adequately explained the ultimate goal of such strikes beyond punishing Assad and strengthening the opposition forces. In the absence of a meaningful, clearly defined objective, I am not willing to risk the unintended consequences that may arise from the President’s request.” [09/04/13]

Rep. Wilson (R-SC)- “Today’s hearing confirms my belief that the United States must not engage in military action against Syria. The President’s failed foreign policy over the last four and a half years has allowed Syrian Dictator Bashar al-Assad to engage in horrific acts of violence against his own people. The White House identified on April 25th that Syria had used chemical weapons, crossing the President’s “red line.” This debate should have occurred upon immediate detection, as opposed to now when intervention could potentially create greater consequences. Secretary Kerry, Secretary Hagel, and General Dempsey’s inability to provide specific answers to direct questions conveys that authorizing a military strike will place American families at greater risk and increase instability which threatens our allies of Israel, Jordan, Turkey, and Iraq.” [09/04/13]

Rep. Webster (R-FL)- “I am pleased that the President has agreed to fulfill his responsibility to consult with Congress before intervening militarily in Syria. While I will seriously consider the information delivered in upcoming classified briefings, at this point I am strongly opposed to military intervention in Syria,” said Webster. [09/04/13]

Rep. Weber (R-TX)- “There are no simple answers. The U.S. should view every country and every situation individually and not try to establish or espouse a “one size fits all” strategy for every country or every situation. The use of chemical weapons, while a direct violation of international law, is not enough to justify our military involvement.” [09/02/13]

Rep. Woodall (R-GA)- “I joined a group of my colleagues in the House this week in sending a letter to the President expressing our commitment to have Congress reconvene immediately, should he feel military action is necessary, so that the voice of the American people can be heard on this issue.  With the facts that I know now, I do not support an American attack on Syria, but if an attack is what the President wants, I welcome him to come to Capitol Hill and make his case to Congress and all of America.” [09/01/13]

Rep Wilson (D-FL) “I will do anything that I can to keep our nation from going to war. It is my hope that we will not go to war.” [08/31/13]

Rep. Young (R-AK)- “As events continue to unfold in Syria, I want to make it very clear to Alaskans that we cannot ignore the unthinkable horror of using chemical weapons; however, at the current time, I do not support U.S. military inter