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Hatch on President's Address on Syria


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U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) issued the following statement after President Obama's address to the nation:

"I appreciate the President finally speaking to the American people tonight about the ongoing situation in Syria and throughout the Middle East. The use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime is reprehensible, but with the region hitting a boiling point, it is clear -- from the conversations I've had with the President himself and top Administration officials, to the contradictory statements from the Administration -- that the President and his team have struggled to explain why taking action against the Assad regime is in the American people's best interest. Unfortunately I do not believe tonight's speech has done much to clarify this.

"There are no easy answers to what has increasingly become a quagmire engulfing the entire region. Sectarian violence between Sunni and Shia is spilling over from Syria into Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq -- and impacting one of America's greatest allies, Israel. There are no clear lines of who "the good guys' are with the Assad regime backed by Iran and its terrorist Hezbollah arm, and some of the rebels opposing the Syrian regime allied with al Qaeda affiliates.

"While the President may have decided to delay a congressional vote authorizing military action in Syria, the core question remains: what is the President's long-term strategy not only in this war-torn country, but for the entire region? Is it to continue to cede America's international power to Russia? Will we continue to project American power in a strategic manner that serves our national interest and that has brought stability, liberty and security to much of the world since the end of World War II?

"What is clear is that launching a few missiles will do nothing to end Syria's civil war, and is neither a real strategy to stop the deployment of chemical weapons in Syria nor a guarantee that chemical weapons won't be used in the future by the Assad regime. That is not a plan for the region.

"That's why I continue to have strong reservations about authorizing the use of force against Syria. A diplomatic resolution is always preferred over military action, but what would that resolution entail, and who will broker it? Years of President Obama leading from behind on the international stage has put the United States of America -- the greatest country in the world -- in the position of relying on Russia to serve as our negotiator in the region. That's not something anybody should feel comfortable about, but, because of the President's failure to lead or confront the challenges facing the Middle East, that's where we find ourselves. Unfortunately the President did not discuss any plan to get us out of this situation he's put us in, which leads me to believe that that the Administration has no clear plan with how to address the ongoing crisis in the Middle East."

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