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Gabbard: Debate, approval crucial before military intervention in Syria

MEDIA RELEASE

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has partnered with several of her House colleagues to send a letter to President Barack Obama calling for consultation with the U.S. Congress before any military intervention in Syria is authorized.

The congresswoman released an additional statement about her position on intervention in Syria below:

“The use of chemical weapons and weapons of mass destruction is atrocious and violates international norms and basic human rights. The challenges faced by UN Weapons Inspectors as they gather evidence has only exacerbated this conflict that has gone on for too long, with countless innocent casualties.

“Right now, we do not have enough facts about all facets of what is occurring on the ground, the factions involved in this civil war, and what the unintended consequences would be for U.S. military involvement. Congressional debate and approval must occur before any U.S. military action is taken, and through this process we need to have a clear-eyed view of our objectives and what the outcomes would be, understanding the impacts in Syria, and those that extend far beyond Syria.”

Full text of the joint letter to President Barack Obama:

August 29, 2013

Dear Mr. President,

We join you and the international community in expressing unequivocal condemnation over the news that chemical weapons were reportedly used by the government of Syria.

While we understand that as Commander in Chief you have a constitutional obligation to protect our national interests from direct attack, Congress has the constitutional obligation and power to approve military force if the United States or its direct interests (such as its embassies) has not been attacked or threatened with an attack. As such, we strongly urge you to seek an affirmative decision of Congress prior to committing any U.S. military engagement to this complex crisis.

While the ongoing human rights violations and continued loss of life is horrific, they should not draw us into an unwise war – especially without adhering to our own constitutional requirements. We strongly support the work within the United Nations Security Council to build international consensus condemning the alleged use of chemical weapons and preparing an appropriate response; we should also allow the U.N. inspectors the space and time necessary to do their jobs, which are so crucial to ensuring accountability.

As elected officials, we have a duty to represent the will and priorities of our constituents, consistently with the Constitution we all swore to uphold and defend. Before weighing the use of military force, Congress must fully debate and consider the facts and every alternative, as well as determine how best to end the violence and protect civilians. We stand ready to work with you.

Sincerely,
(Signatures of 54 U.S. Representatives)

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