U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-FL, urged restraint in the growing call for U.S. involvement in Syria's civil war, questioning whether America's national security interests were at stake.
"The last thing this country needs is to plunge itself into a civil war that is not vital to our national security," Buchanan said. "Providing arms to rebel insurgent groups, some of whom are sworn enemies of the United States, could prove reckless and dangerous."
"I ask those who are clamoring for U.S. intervention to explain how our involvement is critical to America's vital security interests," Buchanan said. "At a time of record deficits and debt, we simply can no longer afford to be the world's policeman."
Multiple news outlets reported on Wednesday that the Obama Administration is preparing to send lethal weaponry to militant groups battling against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. This development was quickly criticized by Israeli ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, who warned that the presence of Islamist groups among Syrian fighters could lead to weapons falling into the wrong hands.
Last month, a leading opposition group within the rebel ranks released an audio statement pledging allegiance to al-Qaeda -- the very terrorist organization responsible for the worst attack in American history. And earlier this year, leaders of the Syrian opposition threatened to boycott a meeting with newly-appointed Secretary of State John Kerry, claiming the U.S. has not been even-handed enough in its treatment of the rebels.
In total, the U.S. has disbursed $385 million in humanitarian aid to help the millions displaced inside Syria. On April 20, Secretary of State Kerry announced that the U.S. would provide the Syrian opposition with an additional $123 million in nonlethal assistance -- bringing the sum total to $250 million since the fighting began.
Buchanan has led the charge in the U.S. House to cut foreign aid to nations that do not have America's best interests in mind. In January, Buchanan criticized the Administration for sending a shipment of 20 American F-16 fighter jets to the Muslim Brotherhood-backed Egyptian government. Buchanan has introduced legislation to suspend foreign aid to Egypt.
"The U.S. should not be providing military assistance to a regime that supports Hamas and is looking more and more like a dictatorship than a trustworthy democracy," Buchanan said. "America is drowning in a sea of debt. We have plenty of needs here at home that demand our attention."