On August 28, I wrote my Congressional representatives from the state of Montana about the escalating situation in Syria. This included Senators Max Baucus (D), Jon Tester (D) and House representative Steve Daines (R). This was the content of my e-mail:
PLEASE STOP RUSH TO WAR WITH SYRIA
As it appears President Obama, along with Secretary of State John Kerry and others are determined to attack Syria, I am writing to urge you, along with your fellow Senators and members of the House to demand that a formal declaration of war be voted on and issued by Congress before any such attack on Syria is carried out.
Despite Mr. Kerry’s claims of undeniable proof that the chemical attacks were perpetrated by the Assad government, mounting evidence points to the rebels as the true culprits. As you are surely aware, the rebel forces in Syria are supported by the current administration and some are aligned with al-Qaeda. This, in and of itself is repugnant. With American taxpayer funding, these rebels have committed horrific atrocities against Christians, Jews, Muslim minorities, women and children and they have been implicated before in smaller chemical attacks.
This rush to war is specifically designed to circumnavigate debate and discussion, both in the media and in the government. It appears the U.N. is once again not being allowed to complete a full investigation into the chemical attack.
As you may know, a recent poll placed American’s support for attacking Syria at 9%. The American people are indicating that we will not support any more wars based on fabricated evidence.
So again, I am calling on you, please, review the history of this conflict and be a true representative of your constituency. Demand President Obama follow the Constitution, which he has taken an oath to uphold, by asking for a formal declaration of war from Congress. As it is designed to do, this will initiate a more in depth analysis of the evidence and larger situation. Becoming involved in a conflict in which Russia, Iran and China have all stated they will respond is perhaps the most foolish mistake we could ever make as a country- especially if it turns out our evidence is faulty or self-implicating. Thank you.
These e-mails were written prior to President Obama’s announcement that he would seek the approval of Congress to use military force in Syria. The President has since delayed a vote, pending the outcome of the plan Russia has sponsored to confiscate and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons. Senator Max Baucus was the first to reply. He acknowledges the Obama administration’s support of rebel groups in Syria:
“The situation in Syria has turned into a bloody civil war that’s claimed nearly 100,000 lives. President Bashar al-Assad remains in power as rebel fighters try to gain control of the areas they’ve taken. The Administration has pledged to help some of the rebel groups by supplying them with weapons. The situation is volatile and it is evolving. Please be assured that I am keeping your thoughts in mind as I continue to monitor the situation on the ground in Syria.”
On his website, Baucus later issued a statement saying that President Obama was right to seek Congressional approval and that he was “ready to participate in a full and transparent debate in the Senate.” But Baucus, in the same statement, repeats the administration’s narrative that Assad was responsible for the attacks:
“There is no question that Bashar al-Assad’s actions against his own people are reprehensible. At the same time, we need to be very careful about any type of military intervention, and make sure we understand and are prepared to deal with all possible repercussions.”
Jon Tester responded to me with a very similar statement the next day:
“The actions of Syria’s president are abhorrent, and his efforts to remain in power are having terrible consequences for his people and the region. However, I have serious concerns about the possibility of American military involvement in the conflict.”
Since this time, both Senators from Montana have stated they are undecided on how they will vote if the President again calls on Congress. House Representative Steve Daines has come out opposed to military action in Syria and has stated that he intends to vote “no” on any authorization to use military force if it comes to the House floor. In his e-mail response to me, he states:
“… I remain unconvinced that striking Syria is critical to protecting our national security interests. The objective of a military strike remains unclear and its outcome would be far from certain. While I denounce the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons, I believe the risk of U.S. military action is greater than the risk of inaction, especially considering that the rebels seeking to overthrow the regime include several al Qaeda-linked jihadist groups. Thousands of Montanans have joined you in voicing similar concerns, and I share your judgment that U.S. military action in Syria is both unwise and ripe for peril.
… At the present time, the Obama Administration is working with other countries to demand that the Syrian regime turn over to the international community and destroy their weapons of mass destruction. While these discussions take place, it is unlikely that the House of Representatives will vote on a resolution to authorize military force. With that said, please know that I would oppose such authorization if the fundamental conditions in Syria remain unchanged.”
While I am encouraged by Congressman Daines response, it is troubling to see that the big lie is still in place. There is no evidence that the Assad government carried out the chemical attack on August 21. Even the U.N. has stated that testing only confirms sarin gas was used, but can not determine who is responsible for launching the attack. Yes, Assad’s government has stores of chemical weapons, but so do the rebels. A leaked U.S. military document obtained by WND, confirms that Turkish anti-terror police confiscated a canister of sarin from members of the Jabhat al-Nusra Front in southern Turkey, along the Syrian border. The document reveals the gas was produced by al-Qaeda in Iraq and then transferred to Turkey to be used by the rebels in Syria. Russia has charged that these rebel groups, aided by Turkey, are responsible for chemical attacks that occurred earlier this year, and are likely behind the most recent attack in Damascus.
Congress has been overwhelmed with phone calls and e-mails from the American people- nearly all opposed to military strikes against Syria. What needs to happen now is, the American people need to ensure this evidence is reviewed by their Congressional representatives. We need to throw more doubt upon the accusation that Assad is responsible for the chemical attack. The Obama administration will go forward with military strikes against Syria- and possibly Iran- if the plan to capture Assad’s chemical weapons fails. And the situation on the ground in Syria is full of potential snags, one of which may be, chemical weapons stashes inconveniently located in rebel-controlled areas. Hmm…