WASHINGTON –Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today issued the following statement regarding Syria:
“Earlier this evening I received a classified briefing on the facts of the situation in Syria. I learned about the chemical weapons attack and the possibilities of actions going forward. After reviewing and considering all of the facts, I cannot in good conscience vote in favor of an American military attack in Syria.
“I have too many concerns that have not been addressed. I do not believe the necessity of American involvement has been demonstrated, nor do I believe that an adequate plan has been offered. For Congress to give approval to a military action, I believe we should see a compelling argument that our national security interests are immediately at stake, or that a failure to attack would cause us harm in the near future. I find neither to be the case.
“Further, my many questions about the other aspects of a strike have yet to be answered. Al Qaeda appears to be intertwined with the rebel forces, which begs questions about what would happen after a military action. Similarly, our traditional allies are not firmly with us, and there are open threats of retaliation against Israel for any strike against Syria. Further, we don’t know what Russia and Iran might do in reaction. All of this means that it is unclear what actions against our own country or our allies might be taken in response to any American military strikes. It could result in our being drawn into a regional war.
“There is also a late development involving a Russian proposal for Syria turning its chemical weapons stockpile over to international monitors. That is clearly a situation that warrants attention. My questions are, do we trust Assad, and into whose hands might the weapons fall?
“Over the past weeks, I have heard from thousands of my constituents and they have been very adamant about their views on this question. With very, very few exceptions, they are against military involvement in Syria. I take their views seriously into account.
“In the end, I do not believe that President Obama has adequately made the case for me to vote to send our men and women into harm’s way. When given the chance, I will vote ‘no’ on striking against Syria.”