Local reaction to Obama's possible action against Syria - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Local reaction to Obama's possible action against Syria

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- President Obama announced on Saturday that he thinks the U.S. should take military action against Syria in retaliation regarding the chemical weapons attack that killed nearly 1,500 people last week.

Obama announced that he wanted to launch a military strike, but would first seek lawmakers' approval.

Local representatives have voiced their opinions and concerns regarding our nation's military intervening in Syria.

Congressman John Yarmuth sat down with WDRB shortly after the announcement Saturday.

Rep. Yarmuth says he thinks the president made the right decision to get Congress' approval.

Yarmuth says when it comes to the U.S. military's involvement in Syria, a critical debate is important.

"Unless the Congress expresses through its votes the will of the people, we should not take military action," Yarmuth told WDRB.

But before he casts his vote, the congressman says he will discuss and pay special attention to two things.

First, he wants to know if Syria's situation is clearly in our national interest.

"It's one thing to say that it's in our national interest to make sure people live up to international law and obligations but I don't think that's the concept that most people have in our national security interest," he said.

He says he's also concerned with the possibility of no outside support.

"I don't want the expectation of the world to be that the United States is going to take on responsibility of policing the world when no one else will," he said.

He says he's already made up his mind of whether or not it was a chemical attack that massacred more than a thousand Syrians last week.

"I'm pretty well convinced that there were chemical attacks authorized and perpetrated by the Syrian Government against their own citizens. I think the evidence is pretty compelling," said Yarmuth.

But the congressman says proof of chemical weapon usage is not a factor for him.

"The Syrian Government has killed hundreds of thousands of its own citizens and personally, whether it's by gun, bomb, knife or chemical weapons doesn't matter to me. It's an atrocity in any event," he said.

Meanwhile, locals in Louisville took to the streets with signs making their message on the topic very clear.

"Intervening in Syria I think is a drastic mistake," said protestor Nancy Jakubiak.

Protestor Cherise Williams said, "We really don't need "World War III."

"The abuses of human rights in Syria have been going on for three years now but clearly when we're ready to enter affray, people's antennas go up," said Congressman Yarmuth.

"I don't think dropping bombs or sending drones is going to solve this," said protestor Calvin Dwenger.

Other regional representatives have released statements in support of Obama's decision to possibly take military action.

Senator Rand Paul released a statement saying, "I am encouraged President Obama now says he will fulfill his constitutional obligation to seek authorization for any potential military action in Syria. This is the most important decision any President or any Senator must make, and it deserves vigorous debate."

Kentucky U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell also spoke out on Obama's announcement saying, "Today the President advised me that he will seek an authorization for the use of force from the Congress prior to initiating any combat operations against Syria in response to the use of chemical weapons. The President's role as commander-in-chief is always strengthened when he enjoys the expressed support of the Congress."

Indiana U.S. Senator Dan Coats made the following statement: 

"The president's decision to set a 'red line' with Syria while failing to have a long-term strategy in place unfortunately has left the U.S. without any good options. I am pleased, however, that President Obama is seeking authorization from Congress for potential military action in Syria so the American people can have a voice in this debate. I will be traveling across Indiana next week to hear from Hoosiers so I can take their views back to Washington. I will continue to urge the administration to work with our friends and allies on a comprehensive strategy to address the broader challenges throughout the region."

Lawmakers are scheduled to meet in September to further discuss the decision.

Copyright 2013 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.

 

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