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.
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):