As hearings are being held before Congress so that members can decide if they will vote to support the Obama administration’s proposal for military action in Syria, New Jersey lawmakers are weighing in. Congressman Leonard Lance (R-7) told NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider that he’s not convinced the U.S. should become involved militarily and said all the constituents that have contacted his office oppose military action.
“I think this is a very serious situation. And of course the Assad regime should be criticized heavily in the world community for its use of chemical weapons. I abhor the use of chemical weapons. But I am not convinced that the United States should become involved in military action in what is, after all, a civil war,” Lance said.
Lance said he will listen to the testimony about the situation, but he’s leaning strongly against supporting military action. “It will be among the most important votes we cast as members of Congress and I am reluctant to vote for military action by the United States based upon the fact that this is a civil war in Syria,” he said.
The congressman said he hopes the international community comes together and condemns Syria’s use of chemical weapons as greatly as possible. “The United Nations. And if not the United Nations, NATO. And if not NATO, the Arab League. And particularly the Arab League because the use of chemical weapons has been in that neighborhood of the world,” he said.
Lance said the occurrences in the civil war with any weapons are terrible. “Let me say that the deaths of 110,00 people through bullets and bombs is also horrendous. I recognize that the use of chemical weapons is in a different category and I would hope for example that the Arab League might involve itself in this situation,” he said.
According to Lance, all correspondence he’s received from constituents on the issue have been in opposition to U.S. military involvement. “It really is based upon all sorts of constituents who have made their positions known — those on the right, those on the left and those somewhere in the middle. It’s really been extraordinary, at least so far, that those who have reached out to this office have been uniformly in opposition to our military involvement,” he said. “I think part of that is due to a war wariness based upon the Iraqi situation and the situation in Afghanistan. And certainly those are the views of the constituents who have chosen to express themselves with this office.”