INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Congressional Republicans from Indiana are expressing
skepticism over U.S. military involvement in Syria as members of President
Barack Obama’s national security team prepare this week to make the case for
intervention on Capitol Hill.
After Obama said Saturday he would seek congressional authorization to use
military force against Syria to impede its ability to use chemical weapons
against insurgents, several Republican members of Indiana’s congressional
delegation said they were wary of such a move.
“The president’s decision to set a ‘red line’ with Syria while failing to
have a long-term strategy in place unfortunately has left the U.S. without
any good options,” Sen. Dan Coats, a member of the Senate Intelligence
Committee, said in a statement.
Obama had said earlier this year that any documented use of chemical weapons
by Syrian President Bashar Assad against his own population would amount to
a “red line” that the international community would not let him cross.
Coats said he was pleased Obama was “seeking authorization from Congress for
potential military action in Syria so the American people can have a voice
in this debate.”
Rep. Marlin Stutzman said he was “deeply skeptical of American military
involvement in Syria.”
“After ignoring his own ‘red line’ in recent days, President Obama again
outlined no clear strategy or objective ... should we take military action,”
Rep. Todd Rokita said he also remains skeptical of intervention “as I do not
see a clear and imminent threat to the United States.”
“We also need to remember that if these two sides weren’t fighting each
other, they would be using their time and energy designing ways to fight
us,” Rokita said.
Rep. Todd Young told WIBC-FM that he would support military action if the
White House could explain how it would advance long-term goals in Syria. So
far, the administration hasn’t explained how limited strikes would deter the
future use of chemical weapons, he said.
Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Gen. Martin
Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are scheduled to testify
publicly Tuesday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Earlier in
the day, other members of the administration’s national security and
intelligence teams were to hold a classified, closed-door briefing for all
members of Congress.