Facing a fluid and complex foreign policy situation, Western North Carolina’s congressional representatives stand opposed to approving military action against Syria, as urged by President Barack Obama.
As the president prepared to address the nation at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 10, Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry, whose 10th District includes most of Asheville, announced that he’ll vote against a military strike. “After reviewing the evidence and plan presented by the administration, I do not believe there is a compelling national interest or clear mission for our engagement in the Syrian civil war,” he said in a press release. “Coupled with the overwhelming and near-unanimous feedback from my constituents opposing military involvement, I cannot support U.S. military action in Syria.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Mark Meadows, whose 11th District includes parts of southern and western Buncombe County, agreed that military involvement is the wrong course.
“After carefully reviewing the facts and participating in multiple hearings and briefings, I will be voting against the authorization of U.S. military intervention in Syria,” said Meadows, who serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
“Though I stand unflinchingly with Israel, the air strikes being proposed by the Obama administration will neither protect Israel nor are they in the best interest of our national security,” Meadows continues in a press release. “I have heard from more than 3,000 constituents over the past two weeks who have overwhelmingly urged me to vote against military action. Representing the people of Western North Carolina is my responsibility, and it is clear that they strongly oppose involving the United States in Syria’s civil war.”
In addition, the Buncombe County Young Republican group sent out a statement urging the Democratic president to use restraint.
“While we applaud President Obama for bringing the case for war against Syria to the American people via congressional consent, we do not feel it is wise to intervene in a civil war where no American interests are at stake and there is no clear ally,” the letter reads.
However, North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr disagrees, maintaining in a press statement, “Civilized people should be outraged by the deaths of thousands of Syrian civilians and the many more who have been maimed in this horrible civil war.”
Burr adds: “The Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons against civilians is morally repugnant and violates long held standards of conduct. Short of putting troops on the ground, it is time for the United States and our NATO allies to take necessary, punitive military action against the Syrian regime and send a clear signal to its leadership, and others in the region who may be contemplating using weapons of this nature, that there are consequences for these actions.”
His North Carolina colleague in the Senate, Democrat Kay Hagan, says she also supports military intervention.
“It is shocking and deplorable that the Assad regime would use chemical weapons on its own people, and the international community cannot allow this to happen without serious consequences,” she asserts in a press statement. “Without putting American troops on the ground, the atrocities in Syria require a strong response that will prevent them from happening again and ensure that Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile does not fall into the hands of terrorists and further destabilize the Middle East.”