Congressman Paul Cook

Representing the 8th District of California
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A Message from Congressman Cook on Opposing Military Intervention in Syria

Sep 12, 2013
Press Release


I appreciate the amount of feedback I have received from across the Eighth Congressional District over the past week regarding military intervention in Syria. Your concerns are important to me, and I enjoy every opportunity I have to hear from you.

Deciding whether to take the United States to war is the most serious responsibility I have as a member of Congress. Our men and women in uniform depend on Congress and the President to work together to make sure that they have the support they need to carry out a clearly-defined mission.

Last week, the President asked for the authorization for the use of military force in Syria. In this era of sequestration, when military budgets are being cut and the United States is scaling back its commitments overseas, it would be a mistake to intervene in a Syrian civil war. Furthermore, having reviewed the evidence as part of the House Armed Services Committee, the plan presented by the Obama Administration to launch an "unbelievably small" strike is not sufficient either to destroy Syrian President Assad’s stocks of chemical weapons or to deter him from additional chemical attacks.

I’m not willing to send our brave service members into harm’s way without a clear mission and endgame mapped out. Even more troubling, the Obama Administration has not stated whether this proposed military action is intended merely to stop chemical attacks or whether it signals the beginning of a greater involvement in determining the outcome of a prolonged civil war. More questions have been raised by the administration’s statements and actions than have been answered, and there appears to be little thought to the consequences of military action for the United States and the larger region.

Last night, the President delayed his call for a vote on authorizing military action against Syria, but is keeping open the possibility of striking Syria if the Russian peace plan fails to eliminate Assad’s chemical weapons. Any potential strike would still require authorization from Congress.

After hearing from hundreds of constituents, reviewing the evidence and taking part in numerous classified and public hearings over the past week, I cannot support the President’s request for authorization to intervene in a Syrian civil war.