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September 7th, 2013

Blum: Congress Should Reject Strikes on Syria

My daughter Sophie, like all American teenagers, has lived in a United States at war for most of her life. While it is my belief that some wars are certainly unavoidable and crucial for our security, involving our military in Syria falls far outside the definition of a just or necessary war. Our children deserve to experience their country in peacetime, especially when the alternative is entanglement in a Middle Eastern civil war with no objective, no allies, and no imminent threat to our security.

The President made the correct decision when he announced his intention to seek authorization from Congress before launching any military attack on Syria. I applaud this decision. Our Constitution is clear: the decision to declare war belongs to the American people as represented by their elected officials in Congress. The President ignored this reality in 2011 when he unilaterally attacked Libya, but two years later it is encouraging that he has chosen to respect our rule of law before engaging our brave men and women, the best in the world, in another conflict.

That said, I encourage Congress to reject the President’s request to launch an attack on Syria. I think it is entirely possible that President Obama’s eagerness to engage our military in this conflict is a result of his desire to appear committed to the “red line” he spoke of regarding Syria’s use of chemical weapons. Saving political face is never a valid reason to go to war.

Further, the President has already announced that any military action would not seek to bring about regime change in Syria, but would instead be “limited” in scope. What then will be accomplished? The President’s lack of a sense of urgency also indicates to me that he does not see the Syrian situation as a true threat to the security of the United States. It is my opinion that attacking another country preemptively is something that should only be done in the face of being attacked ourselves. I do not believe the current situation in Syria meets that criteria.

The American people overwhelmingly support keeping the U.S. out of yet another country’s civil war. I strongly urge Congress to respect the wishes of their constituents, and vote against this authorization to use military force in Syria.

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The Iowa Republican

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