On March 20, 2003, the United States went to war. One of the major stated reasons for the war was fear that Saddam’s regime would ally itself to Al Qaeda and supply them with chemical or biological weapons. That war lasted nearly ten years and cost over a trillion dollars, over 100,000 Iraqi lives, and nearly 5000 American and Coalition lives.
Now, President Obama, who built his career in no small part on his opposition to that war, wants to go to war over chemical weapons again. This time, however, we would be supporting a coalition of Syrian rebels in which Al Qaeda features prominently. And if those rebels were to win, they would likely capture at least part of Syria’s chemical arsenal.
The decision to go to war is one of the most dire decisions which faces a government. It is because of this that the founding fathers granted the power to make war to Congress, not to the President, so that no one person could lead us into a conflict, to give cooler heads a chance to prevail. And in this case, I believe it is vital that Congress refuse to authorize the use of military force. To authorize force short of war is a cop-out and an abdication of responsibility by Congress who can then pretend that dropping bombs on a foreign country is not an act of war, and there is no American national interest here worth the terrible cost of war.
There is no good outcome our men and women in uniform would be fighting for, in a conflict between a brutal tyrant on one side and some of our nation’s bitterest enemies on the other. There is no plausible winner in the Syrian civil war whom we could reasonably expect to be good for the United States, for the region, or for the Syrian people themselves. The best thing we can do is to stay out, to keep our hands clean and to avoid adding to the devastation and misery of the Syrian people.
President Obama should never have threatened to involve America in the Syrian civil war, and should not now be seeking to act on that threat. I urge our representatives in Congress to vote against authorizing American involvement in Syria, and I join the national Republican Liberty Caucus in urging all of you to contact your representatives and express your opposition to war in Syria.
The national Republican Liberty Caucus has condemned the administration’s planned attacks on Syria and has launched a letter-writing campaign to encourage Congressional opposition. The RLC press release can be found here, and the online tool to contact your representatives can be found here.