Enyart: Clear Goals, Public Support Needed Before Action in Syria
WASHINGTON - After receiving a classified briefing from National Security personnel in Washington, D.C on Sunday, U.S. Congressman Bill Enyart (D-Illinois) today voiced reservations about potential U.S. military action in Syria and urged a national debate prior to possible American intervention.
“After two costly and prolonged wars, there is very little tolerance for another U.S. military operation by the people of Southern Illinois or by my colleagues in Congress,” Enyart said. “If President Obama believes action is needed, he must lay out a convincing case to the American public first.”
Enyart traveled to Washington following the President’s Saturday announcement that he would seek the support of Congress prior to any military intervention in the Syrian conflict. A member of the House Armed Services Committee, Enyart spent Sunday afternoon in briefings with other members of Congress who returned to the capitol during the Labor Day weekend.
“After listening to the National Security professionals Sunday, there is no doubt in my mind that the Assad regime is responsible for atrocities that people of good conscience cannot ignore,” Enyart said. “However, the administration must convincingly show how any military action against Syria helps our national security.”
Enyart monitored the crisis last week with other members of key Congressional committees amid reports that Bashar al-Assad has used chemical weaponry on its citizens amid an escalating civil uprising in the North African nation.
“As a retired veteran and military commander, I know the costs of war very well,” Enyart stated. “I want to know what the long-term goals of our involvement would be before our nation commits to any action, and I cannot support any scenario where our troops are on the ground in Syria.”
Enyart last week signed a letter along with over 120 other members of Congress from both parties urging the President to seek prior authorization for the use of military force in Syria.
“I appreciate the President’s decision to consult Congress,” Enyart stated. “While I still have very serious questions about the wisdom of military action, I believe the administration should be given the chance to make its case and I will listen carefully to the debate, as well as my constituents in Southern Illinois in the coming days.
“I will use my best military judgment to make a decision that is in keeping with our national interests and in keeping with the wishes of the people of Southern Illinois.”