Valley lawmakers respond to the potential strike on Syria

August 31, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
President Obama has changed his strategy to punish the Syrian regime blamed for a chemical weapons attack that killed hundreds of civilians. Instead of authorizing a missile attack on his own, he is asking congress for support.

"Our power is rooted not just in our military might, but in our example as a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. I will seek authorization for the use of force from the American people's representatives in congress," President Obama said.

Despite those comments Saturday, President Obama says he is still set on military action. U.S. warships remain poised for action off the Syrian coast. Some anxious citizens there are trying to escape the line of fire by heading to neighboring Lebanon.

President Obama has not said what he'll do if he can't get congress to approve a military strike, but he did say he believes he has the constitutional authority to proceed without permission.

Lawmakers are scheduled to return to session on Sept. 9 to work on making a decision.

Dozens of people protested the potential U.S. military attack on Syria in Fresno. Protestors say they are tired of the toll that war takes on the United States. Some Valley lawmakers feel the same way.

Congressman David Valadao of Hanford booked a flight to Washington D.C. Saturday night for a briefing on the matter Sunday afternoon.

"For him (President Obama) to actually say he's ready to strike Syria, it's gotten to the point for him that he thinks he's seen something in that intelligence that he's seen a threat there," Valadao said.

Valado is only one vote in the U.S. House of Representatives, and he is not sure he's ready to give the president what he wants.

"Without any good information in front of me it's hard to make that kind of statement, I don't believe I would, but it's too early like I said," Valadao said.

United Nations investigators have yet to finish their work. But the president is convinced the Syrian government authorized the use of poison gas on the rebel held suburb of Damascus on Aug. 21, killing more than 1,400 people, 400 of them children. The president says military action is necessary though he hasn't clarified to what extent.

In a statement released Friday, Congressman Jim Costa said:

"If a military response is necessary, it must be a limited, coordinated response from an internal coalition. The ultimate resolution to this is and must be a political solution not a military one."

Congressman Valado says he would be surprised if the president carried on an attack without congresses approval at this point and obviously, a lot of people are not keen on the president's plan.

"Obviously we have to do what's best for the United States and our citizens. We want to make sure that if we make the decision to put our men and women at risk, it better be for a good reason," Valadao said.


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