U.S. Rep. Candice Miller: Why I will vote no on U.S. military action in Syria
In the coming days, the U.S. House will consider a resolution authorizing the use of military force against the Syrian regime in response to its use of chemical weapons in the ongoing Syrian civil war.
There is no more important duty a member of Congress must make than deciding whether to send the brave men and women of our armed forces into war, and I am compelled to put forward the reasons why I intend to vote no on this resolution.
This Wednesday is the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on our nation. Over these last 12 years of conflict in the Middle East and across the Muslim world, our troops have performed brilliantly in defense of freedom. Our nation owes them a great debt of gratitude that can never be repaid. At the same time, our nation has learned many difficult lessons. In Afghanistan, we rightfully ousted the Taliban regime, which aided and abetted al-Qaida to murder our citizens, but what has followed is unending corruption and sectarian violence. In Iraq, our effort to remove the threat posed by the brutal dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, who had also gassed his own people, was greeted once again with sectarian violence and repression. American military involvement in Libya, which I opposed at the time, helped to protect the citizens of Benghazi from crushing assault, only to have those who we protected attack our consulate, murder our ambassador and three other brave Americans after the fall of Moammar Gadhafi.
In nearly every instance these nations chose not to grasp the opportunity for the freedom thatAmerican intervention offered, but instead they focused on violently settling old scores, some over a thousand years old. While we are still the most powerful nation in the world, playing the role of police force for the world, and particularly in the Middle East, comes at a great cost of American blood and treasure while not providing a commensurate benefit to our national security.
In Syria, it is clear that the Assad regime has, as President Barack Obama has suggested, violated an “international norm” through its use of chemical weapons. But if the last 12 years has taught us anything, it is that the American military should be used only to protect the American people, our allies and American vital national interests from those who seek to do us harm, none of which appears to be at risk in Syria.
Protecting “international norms” should be the responsibility of the entire civilized world, and in Syria, the rest of the world must step up to punish this heinous act. That job cannot fall solely to the United States military. Unfortunately, the coalition that Obama has assembled to punish Assad is much smaller than the coalition we had at the start of the Iraq War. Even our closest ally, Britain, is choosing not to participate. Additionally, it is not clear that those we would defend with military action can be counted upon to be friendly to American interests. We cannot risk supporting Islamic extremists groups with strong ties to al-Qaida who count themselves among the Syrian rebels.
Since the first suggestion of using U.S. military force in Syria, I have asked my constituents for their input on whether such force is justified. They have clearly spoken their opposition. I share their skepticism, and when Congress convenes to consider this important vote, I will do my best to be their voice in Washington by opposing direct U.S. military involvement in the Syrian civil war.
Candice Miller, a Harrison Township Republican, represents Michigan’s 10th District in the U.S. House