News Section: National Government
Senator Murphy Explains No Vote on Force in Syria
BRADENTON -- Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn) was one of seven members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to vote against the chamber's version of a resolution that would authorize the President to use military force in Syria. Murphy explained his vote to constituents late Wednesday, saying he believed "authorization for a military strike with support for the lethal arming of the opposition, will involve us in the Syrian conflict in a way that will be difficult to untangle." The full text of his letter appears below.
Earlier today, as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I voted against authorizing the use of military force in Syria.
The resolution passed 10 to 7, and now moves on to deliberation and a final vote before the full U.S. Senate.
As promised, I wanted to send you a message once I made up my mind, along with information about how I came to this difficult conclusion.
First of all, the president's decision to come to Congress was the right one, and I appreciate the great thought and consideration that the Administration has given to our nation's response to the crisis in Syria.
Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons against the people of Syria is a human rights atrocity and a blatant violation of international law. It's impossible to see the horrific images of death and suffering in Syria and not feel compelled to act in some way. But there is not always an American solution to every international crisis. For me, today's vote was a close call, but in the end, I voted no because I believe that downside risks of military action, both for U.S. interests and the Syrian people, outweigh the potential benefits.
In the short-term, there is little chance that targeted air strikes will destroy Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles, and may simply prompt another deadly reaction from Assad as well as the countries that finance his murderous regime. In the long-term, I worry that today's authorization, which combines authorization for a military strike with support for the lethal arming of the opposition, will involve us in the Syrian conflict in a way that will be difficult to untangle.
Our focus should be on increasing humanitarian aid to the millions of innocent Syrians suffering at the hands of Assad, as well as on concerted diplomatic, political, and economic pressure on the regime.
Senator Chris Murphy