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FL Rep. Buchanan Opposes Military Attack on Syria

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, (R-FL District 16), member of the House Ways and Means Committee

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, (R-FL District 16), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, said today he opposes launching a military strike against Syria because there is no vital national security interest at stake. Funding for military action against Syria would require support from Buchanan’s committee.

“With no direct threat to the United States and no discernible military objective, I cannot support committing American military might to a civil war in the Middle East where the lines are blurred between friend and foe,” Buchanan said.

The Florida Congressman noted that more than 95 percent of the phone calls and emails to his office from constituents have been against American intervention. “The case has not been made for why U.S. involvement is vital to our national security.”

Buchanan also expressed concern that a “limited” military strike could weaken U.S. credibility in the world and further destabilize the Middle East.

“The last thing we want to do is incite further chaos in a part of the world that is already unstable,” he said.

Buchanan said he would continue to listen to his constituents and attend a classified briefing prior to next week’s vote in Congress on whether to authorize the use of military force against Syria.

US Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL District 17), US Army Iraq War veteran.

Jeremy Wallace from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports, “Buchanan said it’s clear the people he represent have a similar view. He said as of Wednesday he had received 600 calls and emails in opposition to the U.S. striking Syria. Just nine people said we should get involved he said … The region’s other House member, Rep. Tom Rooney [R-FL District 17], who represents Charlotte County and part of Manatee, has also been opposed to U.S. involvement in the Syrian conflict. Rooney said he worries that if the U.S. strikes, Syrian president Bashar Assad will respond by attacking Israel, which would likely result in a more forceful action from the United States.”

“The views of the regions two House members is vastly different than the two Senators from Florida. U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio, a Republican, and Bill Nelson, a Democrat, both have declared their willingness to strike Syria and try to oust Assad from office,” notes Wallace.

NOTE: Since Wallace wrote his column Senator Marco Rubio voted against military action SH 216 in the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In a press release after the vote to authorize force Senator Rubio stated:

“What is happening in Syria is a vital national security concern for the United States. I know Syria is far way, and some may wonder why it matters. But it matters for several reasons…

“First, Syria is of vital importance to Iran and to their ambitions to become the foremost power in the region. They use Syria to arm Hezbollah and then to attack Israel. They use it to traffic weapons and terrorists to destabilize Iraq. Second, Assad is a dangerous anti-American dictator. For example, he helped terrorists get into Iraq so they could maim and kill American soldiers. Third, this prolonged conflict is creating vast ungoverned spaces in Syria which are turning into the premier operational area in the world for jihadists to operate. And fourth, if Assad does not face consequences for what he has done, and is doing, it sends a message to other rogue governments like North Korea and Iran that they too can cross red lines without fear.

“However, while I have long argued forcefully for engagement in empowering the Syrian people, I have never supported the use of U.S. military force in the conflict. And I still don’t. I remain unconvinced that the use of force proposed here will work. The only thing that will prevent Assad from using chemical weapons in the future is for the Syrian people to remove him from power. The strike the administration wants us to approve I do not believe furthers that goal. And in fact, I believe U.S. military action of the type contemplated here might prove to be counterproductive.”

RELATED VIDEO: Rubio: My Vote Against Military Action in Syria (SH 216):

RELATEDUS funded Syrian rebels merge with al Qaeda (video)

Rep. Rooney (FL-16) Goes After Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Two Members of the House Armed Services Committee, Congressmen Tom Rooney (R-FL) and Duncan Hunter Jr. (R-CA), sent a letter to General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff questioning why Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Matthew Dooley was given a negative Officer Evaluation Report (OER) on the grounds his instruction of a course on Radical Islam was offensive to Muslims and Islam.

Their letter dated October 10, 2012 states in part:

“It appears that LTC Dooley led this course well within the scope of NDU’s professorial guidelines, as NDU’s own Faculty Handbook states: “Academic Freedom at National Defense University is defined as freedom to pursue and express ideas, opinions, and issues germane to the University’s stated mission, free of limitations, restraints, or coercion by the University or external environment.”

It is our understanding that LTC Dooley did not violate any established University practices, policies or DoD regulations to merit a negative OER.”

The Congressmen’s letter concerns actions taken by General Dempsey earlier in the year when he publicly excoriated Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Dooley at a May 10, 2012 news conference claiming the course LTC Dooley was teaching at the Joint Forces Staff College (JFSC) was offensive to Muslims. General Dempsey caused LTC Dooley to be fired as an instructor, ordered his course, Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism, to be discontinued and that all material considered offensive to Islam be scrubbed from military professional education within JFSC and elsewhere within his command. General Dempsey further ordered that LTC Dooley be given a negative Officer Evaluation Report—the death knell for a military career.

Click here to read entire letter.

Rep. Rooney was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008. Prior to that time, he served four years in the United States Army Staff Judge Advocate (SJA). During his years in SJA he served as Special Assistant to the U.S. Attorney at Fort Hood, TX prosecuting all civilian crimes on post. In 2002, Tom was selected to teach Constitutional and Criminal Law at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Prior to his election as a congressman from California, Duncan Hunter Jr. served as an officer in the Marine Corps. He served three combat tours overseas: two in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.

The Congressmen’s letter asks “[W]hy the DoD was compelled to further discipline LTC Dooley by jeopardizing his reputation and his future in the service.”

LTC Matt Dooley

LTC Matt Dooley attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he graduated and received his commission as a Second Lieutenant, Armor Branch in May 1994. His assignments included deployment to Bosnia, Kuwait, and Iraq for a total of six operational and combat tours over the course of his career. He served as a Tank Platoon Leader, Tank Company Commander, Headquarters Company Commander, Aide-de-Camp (to three General Officers), and Instructor at the Joint Combined Warfare School. He is a graduate of the Command and General Staff College as well as the Joint Forces Staff College.

The Thomas More Law Center, a national nonprofit public interest law firm, based in Ann, Arbor, Michigan, represents LTC Dooley.

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Law Center observed, “The purpose of the Army is to fight and win wars. So what happened to LTC Dooley is more than a personal miscarriage of justice. When instructors are prohibited from teaching military officers about the true threat posed by Islamic Radicalism, it is a threat to our national security. Our warfighting potential is thus being crippled by the political correctness and appeasement of radical Muslims currently in vogue at the upper echelons of the Pentagon.”

A review of LTC Dooley’s OERs going back several years, including his OER as an instructor with JFSC, paint a picture of an outstanding officer with unlimited potential:

“LTC Matt Dooley’s performance is outstanding and he is clearly the best of our new instructors assigned to the JFSC faculty over the last six months. . . . A must select for battalion command. . . . LTC Dooley possesses unlimited potential to serve in positions of much higher authority.”

“MAJ Dooley is unquestionably among the most dedicated and hard working officers I have ever known.… Unsurpassed potential for future promotion and service.”

“Our soldiers deserve his leadership.”

“This officer possesses unlimited potential for future assignments. He must be promoted ahead of his peers and selected for Battalion/Squadron Command at first opportunity.”

“Superb performance.”

“Matt is a consummate professional with unlimited potential;”

LTC Dooley’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with Star, Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal with Two Stars, both the Global War on Terrorism Service and Expeditionary Medals, the Armed Forces Service Medal, the NATO Medal, the Parachutist Badge, the Air-Assault Badge, and two Army Superior Unit Awards.