U.S. Congressman Michael G. Grimm (R,C-SI/Brooklyn) issued a statement withdrawing support from President Obama’s plan to attack Syria.
“When President Obama announced his plans to strike Syria in response to the discovery that the Assad regime used chemical weapons to kill thousands of men, women and children; my initial reaction, as a Marine combat veteran, was to stand by the Commander in Chief and support immediate, targeted strikes. I believed that the reputation and credibility of the United States was on the line and that we had to send a strong message that the use of chemical weapons is reprehensible and will not be tolerated. Unfortunately, the time to act was then and the moment to show our strength has passed,” Rep. Grimm said.
“As debate has dragged on in Congress, the President has weakened his position as our leader and deteriorated our credibility on the world stage. The President has changed his red line to the world’s red line, he showed his hand when he should have kept it close, he failed to gain the support of key allies, and continues to delay action indefinitely until Congress acts,” he said.
“Now that the Assad regime has seen our playbook and has been given enough time to prepare and safeguard potential targets, I do not feel that we have enough to gain as a nation by moving forward with this attack on our own. Additionally I have heard from many constituents who strongly oppose unilateral action at a time when we have so many needs here at home. Thus, after much thought, deliberation and prayer, I am no longer convinced that a U.S. strike on Syria will yield a benefit to the United States that will not be greatly outweighed by the extreme cost of war,” he said.
A sharply divided U.S. Senate committee voted Wednesday, Sept 4, to give President Barack Obama limited authority to use force against Syria. The panel voted 10-7 in favor of a compromise resolution that sets a 60-day limit on any engagement in Syria, with a possible 30-day extension, and bars the use of U.S. troops on the ground for combat operations.
Following the vote, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), citing the Armenian American community's profound concern for the fate of Syria's Armenian population and the welfare of all of Syria's citizens, circulated letters across Capitol Hill calling on Members of the U.S. House and Senate to oppose legislation authorizing U.S. strikes against Syria.
"As our nation’s elected representatives gather this week to consider potential U.S. actions against Syrian targets, we wish to add our voice, as Americans of Armenian heritage, to those of our fellow citizens who oppose American military strikes and are against any escalation of violence. Such an escalation would very likely create further challenges and lead to serious additional harm to Christian communities, including Syria’s Armenian minority," said ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian in letters to U.S. legislators. "We take this stand mindful of the horrific human suffering that armed conflict has already visited across Syria, including the death and destruction being endured, to this day, by Armenians and other Christian communities. There has already been too much bloodshed, too much brutality, and too much suffering. An escalation in aggression can neither save lives nor help bring about peace."
The ANCA message went on to stress that, "We believe that the advancement of our national interests, the enhancement of U.S. standing, the strengthening of the international rule-of-law system, and the promotion of stability and humanitarian and democratic values in this vital region, will not be facilitated by American attacks. We look to our government to seek a diplomatic settlement, and to reinforce our nation’s call upon all parties to cease any attacks on civilians, to limit armed operations to military targets, and to refrain from violence, intimidation, and discrimination against Christians and other vulnerable minorities."