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Rep. Burton: John McCain Does Not Speak For Congress


Location: Washington, DC

Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN-05) issued the following statement in response to Senator John McCain's call for U.S.-led air strikes to halt the violence in Syria:

"As the situation in Syria has continued to devolve, the calls for U.S. intervention have continued to grow louder. With all due respect to my friend and colleague Senator John McCain, I must categorically disagree with these calls. I would be remiss if I did not remind Senator McCain, as well as President Obama, that they do not speak for the entire Congress, or have the power to unilaterally engage the United States into the Civil War currently raging in Syria. It cannot be argued that the tragedies continuing to unfold in places like Homs are acceptable. However, our military cannot be expected to take on the mantle of Policeman of the entire World. Why are we so quick to allocate our finite military resources to the uncertain environment that the Syrian Civil War has become? If it were the policy of the United States to intervene anywhere a regime committed violence against its population, then we have been derelict in our duty to the world. Zimbabwe, Uganda, Sudan, Rwanda, North Korea, Burma and countless other despotic regimes have to this point been spared the wrath of our military might.

"The reality is, the reason that the United States is not embroiled in weekly military misadventures in the darkest and most depraved corners of the world is because the United States Constitution and specifically the War Powers Act, prevents us from doing so. The Constitution and this law provide an important check, essentially protecting us and our brave fighting men and women from the potentially dire consequences of misapplied good intentions. These laws are not suggestions, they are the bedrock foundation of our government and lest we forget, every President, Senator, and Congressman has sworn to protect and uphold them. If President Obama is truly taking Senator McCain's suggestions to heart, as I believe he is, then it is REQUIRED that before one plane leaves a Hanger or Carrier, or one American bullet is fired, that he seek the formal authorization of Congress.

"While it cannot be argued that Basher Al Assad has not been an antagonist in the region, and certainly no friend to the United States, he has not formally declared war on the United States. In opening up another theater of operation in the Middle East in the manner suggested by Senator McCain, we will not only unnecessarily endanger our standing National Security interests in the region, we will again be allowing a flagrant disregard for the Constitution in our own Country. We must not allow this precedent to become common place."

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