Labrador joins Risch, would vote no on use of force in Syria

Rep. Raul Labrador has become the second member of the four-man all-GOP Idaho congressional delegation to say he will oppose the use of force in Syria.

“I gave the Administration a chance to make their case, but they couldn’t make it,” said Labrador in a news release Tuesday morning.  “Nothing they said changed the fact that we are not the police force of the world, we don’t have any compelling national interest in Syria, and it’s doubtful that an alternative government in Syria will be any better than the current one. While no one doubts that Bashar al-Assad is a brutal dictator, it’s very likely that removing him power will embolden al-Qaeda and other terrorists.”

Last week, Sen. Jim Risch cast a vote against intervention in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and said an attack would do more harm than good.

A vote on a use of force resolution in the Senate has been set aside while President Obama considers a deal offered by Russian President Vladimir Putin that could lead to an international solution that would take chemical weapons out of Syrian control. Obama is scheduled to speak on national television today about Syria, at 7 p.m. Mountain Time. Should the Senate approve use of force, the House is expected to take up the resolution.

Sen. Mike Crapo and Rep. Mike Simpson haven’t yet said how they would vote, but both have expressed their skepticism.

Labrador’s full statement follows:

LABRADOR COMES OUT AGAINST
CONGRESSIONAL AUTHORIZATION TO
USE FORCE AGAINST SYRIA

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-ID) announced today that he will vote against any Congressional authorization of the use of force against Syria.  The Congressman carefully reviewed all of the arguments for and against a potential U.S. attack – including attending a classified briefing and speaking with a member of the Administration – and reached the conclusion that a military assault on Syria would harm, rather than improve, our national security.

“I gave the Administration a chance to make their case, but they couldn’t make it,” said Rep. Labrador.  “Nothing they said changed the fact that we are not the police force of the world, we don’t have any compelling national interest in Syria, and it’s doubtful that an alternative government in Syria will be any better than the current one.  While no one doubts that Bashar al-Assad is a brutal dictator, it’s very likely that removing him power will embolden al-Qaeda and other terrorists.

“We also can’t rule out the possibility that – despite the Administration’s assurances – a Congressional authorization to use force against Syria will lead to the use of U.S. ground forces.  After our experience in Iraq, I couldn’t think of anything worse than putting our brave servicemen and women in harm’s way to police a civil war in a land in which we have no vital interests.  Better options are available, and will should use them.

“I will vote ‘no’ on any Congressional authorization to use force against Syria, and I will encourage my colleagues to do the same.”

Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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