CONGRESS//15th DISTRICT | In the first major vote of his young congressional career, Rep. Eric Swalwell says he will consider approving the President’s plan to use military force in Syria, but not without further details he hopes will keep U.S. ground troops out of another foreign entanglement.
“The evidence is overwhelming that the Assad regime used chemical weapons to massacre innocent civilians, including children,” Swalwell said Tuesday in a statement. “The use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime is horrific and must have serious consequences so it does not happen again. I will consider a limited U.S. military response. However, I want to make clear that I stand in strong opposition to putting troops on the ground.
Swalwell spent time last week in Afghanistan as part of a congressional delegation during which he commiserated with soldiers and their superiors.
“The resolution proposed by the President is too broad and I cannot support it in its current form. Any resolution to authorize force must have clear language limiting the scope and duration of American involvement.”
The nuanced stance is a middle ground between Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s support for the President’s desire for air strikes against the Syrian regime and a group of anti-war Democrats led by Swalwell’s congressional counterpart in Alameda County, Rep. Barbara Lee, who says another use of U.S. military intervention in the Middle East is unwise.
According to the USA Today, the Obama administration plans to “flood the zone” with supporter of military force, hoping to cajole congressional votes before the issue comes up for consideration as early as Sept. 9.
On Sunday, Swalwell tweeted, “I am deeply concerned that the proposed White House resolution for #Syria is over-broad and would allow troops on the ground. Can't support.”
However, Swalwell was not one of over 60 members of Congress who signed a letter to the President composed by Lee, forcefully urging against an authorization of military force in Syria. Lee, of course, famously lodged the lone vote against the use of force in Afghanistan in 2001, which later expanded into protracted wars in that country and later in Iraq.
“We must learn the lessons of the past. Lessons from Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and others,” Lee said last Thursday. “We must recognize that what happens in Syria does not stay in Syria; the implications for the region are dire.” Bay Area Reps. George Miller, John Garamendi and Mike Honda also signed Lee’s letter.