Congressman Adam Schiff (CA-28), who represents several cities in the Los Angeles area, released a statement today echoing the country’s reluctance to get too entrenched in the Syrian Civil War.
The statement, published late Tuesday afternoon on his Facebook page, highlighted fear for the “normalization” of chemical weapons in combat:
“We have a compelling interest, both humanitarian and in terms of our national security, in making sure that chemical weapons do not become just another tool of warfare. If the most recent allegations of a massive use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime are confirmed, I believe we will be compelled to act or risk the spread and “normalization” of these terrible agents.”
His condemnation is aligned with a global outcry from both Western and Arab countries. Despite multiple denials by Syria of the use of chemical weapons, the Arab League disagreed and called on the U.N. Security Council to act.
Back in the states however, there is a growing reluctance towards military action in Syria. A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll showed that only nine percent supported military intervention in Syria. That number only rises to 25 percent if it is proven that chemical weapons were used.
Congressman Schiff, who has been outspoken about the Armenian Genocide, also mentioned in his statement the importance of consulting congress “should [Obama] determine to go further than limited cruise missile strikes.”
Unlike Schiff, many Republican lawmakers believe any military action should require congressional approval. Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.) made a statement today calling any action without congressional approval unconstitutional.
Rigell’s beliefs don’t seem to fit modern precedence however.
Presidents Bush (Iraq), Reagan (Nicaragua), Clinton (Yugoslavia) and Obama (Libya) have all beat legal challenges claiming military engagement was unconstitutional. In fact, The National Security Law Brief claims that it’s actually President George W. Bush’s administration that exercised war powers “most brazenly.” In a brief released by President Bush following the September 11th terrorist attack, the President said:
“The President may deploy military force preemptively against terrorist organizations or the States that harbor or support them, whether or not they can be linked to the specific terrorist incidents of September 11.”
This contradicts Rigell’s belief that the President can only act if there is an immediate threat to the United States.
Regardless, comments by Congressman Schiff seem to accurately express what many Angelenos and Americans feel; that years of warfare have left Americans weary of ongoing conflict in countries seemingly far away.