By Jon Runyan
By now we have all seen the video footage of Syrian men, women and children being brutally murdered seemingly at the hands of their government. No one can look at these images and not feel completely shocked and grief stricken.
This week Congress begins debate on a resolution authorizing U.S. military force as a way to deter the Syrian government from using chemical weapons against its citizens. Representatives must consider the images we're seeing on the evening news, and the information gathered from numerous briefings. In addition there are many questions and concerns about the overall strategy and the wisdom of asking our brave men and women to take on another mission while the DoD budget continues to get slashed.
As is typical of Washington, questions about how this impacts the President, the Congress, and how others view the U.S. have crept into the debate. And these are exactly the kinds of things that keep us from doing the job the American people expect of us.
This is not about President Obama's second term or whether he "wins" or "loses". It is not about Democrats and Republicans in Congress and how Washington will be viewed around the globe should the Congress fail to give the President what he wants.
I can tell you that for me it is about the 60,000 men and women still serving in Afghanistan after more than a decade. It's also about the fact that the one certainty of war is its uncertainty, and that no one can give a war weary American public a guarantee that U.S. involvement in Syria will end with a single narrowly targeted strike. In fact recent history clearly suggests that such a scenario is highly unlikely. The American people are smart enough to know that once the United States military strikes Syria, we own it - and there will be no easy way out.
Finally, as I've travelled throughout the district during August, I have seen and heard from many of you about this issue. Others have called, written or emailed expressing your opinions, which have been overwhelmingly opposed to military action. For all of these reasons, if I had to cast my vote right now -- I would oppose U.S. military engagement in Syria.
Congressman Jon Runyan