After listening to the Administration's case for intervening in the Syrian civil war and attending a classified briefing on the matter, Congressman Alan Nunnelee (R-Miss.) issued the following statement regarding his decision to vote against authorizing the use of force:
"American military power should only be exerted when our national interests are clearly at stake. President Obama and his team have failed to provide a good explanation of how intervening in the Syrian civil war would advance our interests. As important, he has failed to define the military objectives of a strike and how these objectives fit into an overall strategy for Syria and the entire Middle East.
The Administration has informed us the plan is to be 'just muscular enough not to get mocked' and Secretary of State John Kerry said any strike would be 'incredibly small.' I cannot support sending American troops into harm's way for such weak and pointless purposes.
What the Assad regime is doing to its own people is horrible. There is little doubt they have used chemical weapons to suppress the rebellion. If President Obama had acted decisively earlier, we may have had better options. As it stands now, our choices are extremely limited because the strongest factions fighting against Assad's regime are al-Qaeda affiliated Muslim extremists.
Like in so many other areas of foreign policy, the situation in Syria has been botched from start to finish by this Administration. My 'no' vote is a vote of no confidence in President Obama's leadership."