February 14, 2016

Wisconsin delegation cautious on Syria

President Obama has asked Congress for authority to carry out military action in Syria for the alleged use of Saran nerve gas to kill some of their own people. Many of Wisconsin’s delegation are concerned with such actions.

Seventh District Congressman Sean Duffy issued a statement Wednesday saying, “The President has done the right thing by seeking Congressional approval. At this point, the President has not laid out a coherent plan to justify American military action. It is not clear who we are fighting with or what we are fighting for. Therefore, I do not plan to support the resolution to intervene.” Duffy went on to say, “”In a strategy that doesn’t have a well thought out goal with the ability to actually advance American policy, I don’t see why we should do it and the President hasn’t convinced me yet.”

Third District Congressman Ron Kind is concerned about what would happen after the President’s attack on Syria’s chemical weapons. “I asked the Obama Administration this week if they could supply a national intelligence assessment of what the day after may look like if we do launch cruise missiles into Syria, what would be the likely response in the region from Syria, Hezbollah, Iran.”

Kind is undecided on the issue, but does say he is against putting our troops there, and doesn’t want another drawn out conflict in the middle east. “The last thing I want to see is for us to get drawn into a prolonged long military engagement in the Middle East, on the heels of a decade-long two war in the same region (effort) that took a terrible toll on both troops and treasure. I don’t think anyone wants to see boots on the ground or even overhead flights.”

Kind says he understands why President Obama wants to ensure the chemical weapons are destroyed, but is concerned about how both sides in this war are not friends of the United States. “The truth is we don’t have a lot of friends on either side of that conflict. Al Qaeda is trying to establish a foothold, but for many years, the International community has delivered a resounding message that if you cross that line and deploy biological, chemical, or nuclear weapons, there are consequences to expect, and this is one of the tests to that.”

On the U.S. Senate side, Republican Senator Ron Johnson voiced his opposition to military action in Syria Wednesday during the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee meeting.

Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin, who recently returned from a trip to the Turkey-Syria border, says there are “no good options” and fears unintended consequences of military action in Syria. She also said she cannot support any plan that puts American boots on the ground.

Baldwin hopes concern about Syria’s reported use of chemical weapons gives Secretary of State John Kerry more leverage with Russia and China and bring about a diplomatic solution.

Larry Lee, WSAU

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