Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee released the following statement today regarding the situation in Syria:
"I extend my deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims killed or injured by the horrific and unjustifiable use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime against an unarmed civilian population in the suburbs of Damascus. This attack claimed the lives of 1,429 persons, including at least 426 children. The international community, joined by the United States, should act expeditiously to provide humanitarian assistance and relief, including doctors and medical supplies to ameliorate the suffering of the victims of this senseless attack.
"The world learned through the painful experience of World War I the horror and inhumanity of chemical weapons, which cause unspeakable suffering and kill indiscriminately as we saw in the 1980s when Saddam Hussein's regime used them in Iraq's war with Iran and later against its own people. The international community cannot again let such an attack go unanswered for to do so will embolden other rogue regimes and terrorists.
"The question is not whether the United States and the international community should act, but what actions should be taken. I commend President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry for the thoughtful and deliberative manner in which they have handled the ongoing crisis in Syria. I especially appreciate their recognition of the importance of genuine consultation and collaboration with the Congress in reaching a decision regarding the use of military force.
"The best way to ensure there is genuine, informed, and substantive collaboration between the executive and legislative branches is for there to be frequent classified briefings with the members of the congressional committees of jurisdiction, including Intelligence, Armed Services, Homeland Security, and Foreign Affairs.
"If time is of the essence, the Congress can be called back to Washington for this purpose by the President or the congressional leadership.
"Americans abhor and are weary of war, especially long wars with no end in sight like Iraq. The war in Iraq taught this nation the importance of having accurate and reliable information when deciding whether to use military force and the painful cost in lives and treasure of acting precipitously. But the last decade also showed us the devastation that can be wrought when dangerous weapons find their way into the hands of dangerous people.
"The President, as Commander in Chief, is charged with the responsibility of deciding when to use military force to protect the nation and its interests. But he does not bear this weighty burden alone. The Constitution wisely divides this responsibility with the Congress, the representatives of the American people.
"I stand ready to work with the Administration to make the right decision for our country and am prepared to return to Washington immediately if necessary."