Politics | local | Crisis In Syria

Oregon Delegation Weighs In On Syria

OPB | Sept. 4, 2013 midnight | Updated: Sept. 9, 2013 12:15 p.m.

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Three Oregon members of Congress weighed in this week on whether the U.S. Congress should approve a military strike against Syria, after reports that the government there gassed its own people. 4th District Congressman Peter DeFazio, 3rd District Congressman Earl Blumenauer, and First District Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici were guests on OPB’s Think Out Loud.

When host Dave Miller asked DeFazio how he was leaning on a Syria resolution, the congressman said, “No.”

He called the alleged gassing of Syrians a “horrible, heinous act,” but said he doesn’t believe that American national security is on the line.

DeFazio said, “I appreciate the fact that the president has come to Congress. For years, I’ve been trying to fix the War Powers Act. In fact, I’ll introduce a bill as soon as we’re back to not make it discretionary under any president in the future. Under the Constitution, in my opinion, they must consult before engaging in a proactive military action. And that’s what this is: it’s proactive.

Congressman Blumenauer agreed with DeFazio, calling the situation in Syria “horrific and appalling.”

Blumenauer explained, “But it’s going to be a heavy lift for me to support military intervention. I will be looking very carefully at what is going to be the outcome. Firing a few missiles, along with whatever collateral damage that has for innocent civilians, very likely to happen…where does that put us forward? We’ve been unable to identify the ‘good guys’ in Syria. It would be different if we had an idea of somebody that we thought was going to move forward who would replace this thug and be somebody who’d be responsible and be supportive of the best interest of the Syrian people.”

Blumenauer says he doesn’t want to rush into an action that could make things worse than the present situation. He urged humanitarian assistance for Syrian refugees.

Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici called the use of chemical weapons deplorable and intolerable. She said she’s not in a position to say yes or no to an American military strike at this point, because of her remaining questions.

She said, “What if any additional sanctions could we take against Syria? What are we doing to convince the UN Security Council and the other nations in the UN Security Council to take action as the UNSC? What are they looking for and waiting for? What are those obstacles? What is being done to anticipate consequences from a military strike. How limited would it be? Where would it be? And would there be some end game in place. There are many, many questions that I am working getting answers to.”

You can hear the entire conversation about Syria on the Think Out Loud Web page.

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