Following Classified Briefings, Nolan Will “Vote and Work Against” U.S. Attack on Syria
Sep 3, 2013
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Returning to Minnesota from Washington following a 3-hour classified briefing on the escalating situation in Syria, U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan (MN-08) said this morning that the information he learned during the session “only served to convince me more than ever of the folly and danger of getting America involved in the Syrian civil war.”
“If it can be proven beyond doubt that Syrian President Assad is guilty of using chemical weapons, he should be charged and tried in an international court of law,” Nolan said.
After participating in a follow-up conference call this morning with Secretary of State John Kerry and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, Nolan released the following statement:
“I will vote and work against President Obama's request for open-ended authority to launch military strikes against the Syrian army.
“After a three-hour classified briefing, and taking time to read all the classified documents, what I have heard and read has only served to convince me more than ever of the folly and danger of getting America involved in the Syrian civil war.
“Clearly the Syrian people have been tragic victims of both chemical and conventional weapons, but the evidence of who bears responsibility is sketchy and conflicting at best. Even Secretary Kerry cites ‘high confidence,’ not hard evidence, as the justification for launching a military attack. ‘High confidence’ is not enough to justify the high risks of getting America engaged in another war of choice in the Middle East. It is precisely the same kind of circumstantial evidence regarding weapons of mass destruction that got us into the war in Iraq.
“With thousands of bombs exploding daily in Syria, it is certainly possible a chemical depot was hit and chemical weapons disbursed in the conflict. With the Al-Qaeda affiliated rebels in possession of chemical weapons, it is also possible they were responsible for the chemical attacks as a way to draw the U.S. into the conflict to the benefit to the rebel forces. And last but not least, it is possible that Assad or a rogue element in the Syrian Army was responsible.
“If it can be determined with absolute and irrefutable certainty that Assad is responsible, he should be charged and tried in an international court of law.
“One thing we do know is that Assad had nothing to gain and everything to lose by launching a chemical attack. The hard fact is, we have no friends in this conflict. It is a struggle that has gone on for centuries. What is clear is that an attack by us will cost hundreds of millions of dollars, kill hundreds of people, prolong and expand the conflict, result in some form of retaliatory attack – including a possible attack on our only reliable ally in the region, Israel – and put in high place the risk of drawing America into a another war in the Middle East.
“We have all heard the political supporters of an attack on Syria say they are against boots on the ground. However, they ignore the reality that military attacks result in retaliation and an escalating conflict which all too often results in new circumstances leading those same people to justify, you guessed it, boots on the ground.”