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Houston Area Lawmakers Weigh In On Syria

As the question of President Obama's intention of a military strike against Syria seems to no longer be "if" but "when" and "how", another question that remains is whether Congress will support it. Members of the Houston area congressional delegation shared their opinions.


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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (Aug. 30) official video

Secretary of State John Kerry today was pretty clear that doing nothing is unacceptable in the administration’s opinion.

According to an unclassified U.S. intelligence report, there’s little doubt Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s regime is responsible for the chemical weapon attack that killed more than 1,400 civilians on Aug. 21.

“We know rockets came only from regime-controlled areas and went only to opposition-controlled or contested neighborhoods.”

Congressman Pete Olson, a Republican from Sugar Land, agrees that the use of chemical weapons is unacceptable and a threat to the United States and its allies. But he says he’s not willing to authorize military action unless the president can make a convincing case to Congress.

“President Obama cannot make the same mistakes he made in Libya, in Egypt. Things are worse in those countries because we got involved with no long-term goals, no exit strategies, no congressional approval. President Obama must make the case for military action in Syria.”

Congress is currently in recess but Olson says if the president asked Congress to reconvene, he would take a plane back to Washington immediately.

Obama said today that he’s consulted with Congress and allies and is still weighing various options. But he pointed out that whatever action the United States will take, it won’t be a long-term campaign and there will be no boots on the ground.

Congressman Gene Green, a Democrat from Houston, agrees with that strategy and hopes any kind of campaign will be modeled after the intervention in the Balkans in the late ‘90s when NATO forces used primarily air power.

“I just want it to be limited and no U.S. troops on the ground, I want to make sure… but we also need to respond to what Assad is doing to his own people using chemical weapons.”

He says while some of his Republican colleagues want to have a say in the decision to attack Syria, by law the president doesn’t have to ask Congress’s permission.

“I would like to get as much information, but they don’t really have to talk to me. They have to consult with Congress and that means the leaders of our intelligence and armed services committee, appropriations committee and our leadership.”

The War Powers Resolution of 1973 requires the president to consult with Congress before launching military action and seek its approval for a continued campaign after 60 days.


U.S. Government Assessment of the Syrian Government’s Use of Chemical Weapons on August 21, 2013 by Gregg Carlstrom


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