Texas leaders react to Obama's remarks on Syria

Published On: Dec 24 2013 04:01:00 AM CST
Updated On: Sep 02 2013 01:43:00 PM CDT
HOUSTON -

Texas leaders are voicing their thoughts about President Barack Obama's latest remarks on Syria.

Obama said he has decided that the U.S. should take military action against Syria in response to a deadly chemical weapons attack.

MORE:President Obama to seek approval for action against Syria

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz released the following statement on Saturday regarding Obama's remarks:

"I commend President Obama for listening to bi-partisan calls for him to seek congressional authority before any possible use of force against Syria. Given that the President did not request an emergency session of Congress, that must mean that he agrees there is no imminent threat requiring the Commander in Chief to act without consulting the representatives of the American people.

I remain concerned that the mission proposed by the President is not in furtherance the vital national security interests of the United States. To date I have heard a great deal from the administration about punishing Bashir al-Assad for violating an “international norm” through the use of chemical weapons, and that this is why we must act against him.

Abstract notions about international norms should never displace U.S. sovereignty to act, or refuse to act, for our national security.

Assad’s murderous actions have claimed the lives of more than a hundred thousand of his own people, which is a humanitarian tragedy. But our chief strategic concern should not be international norms; it should be preventing the chemical weapons from falling into the hands of al Qaeda or other terrorists who might use them against us and our allies.

It is now incumbent upon President Obama to make his case and persuade Congress that his plan is necessary, and the best course to preserve our security and protect our liberties. Like the President, I welcome this debate and I agree this is an issue of the highest seriousness that transcends partisan politics."

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee released the following statement also on Saturday regarding the situation in Syria:

"I extend my deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims killed or injured by the horrific and unjustifiable use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime against an unarmed civilian population in the suburbs of Damascus. This attack claimed the lives of 1,429 persons, including at least 426 children. The international community, joined by the United States, should act expeditiously to provide humanitarian assistance and relief, including doctors and medical supplies to ameliorate the suffering of the victims of this senseless attack.

The world learned through the painful experience of World War I the horror and inhumanity of chemical weapons, which cause unspeakable suffering and kill indiscriminately as we saw in the 1980s when Saddam Hussein’s regime used them in Iraq’s war with Iran and later against its own people. The international community cannot again let such an attack go unanswered for to do so will embolden other rogue regimes and terrorists.

The question is not whether the United States and the international community should act, but what actions should be taken. I commend President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry for the thoughtful and deliberative manner in which they have handled the ongoing crisis in Syria. I especially appreciate their recognition of the importance of genuine consultation and collaboration with the Congress in reaching a decision regarding the use of military force.

The best way to ensure there is genuine, informed, and substantive collaboration between the executive and legislative branches is for there to be frequent classified briefings with the members of the congressional committees of jurisdiction, including Intelligence, Armed Services, Homeland Security, and Foreign Affairs.

If time is of the essence, the Congress can be called back to Washington for this purpose by the President or the congressional leadership.

Americans abhor and are weary of war, especially long wars with no end in sight like Iraq. The war in Iraq taught this nation the importance of having accurate and reliable information when deciding whether to use military force and the painful cost in lives and treasure of acting precipitously. But the last decade also showed us the devastation that can be wrought when dangerous weapons find their way into the hands of dangerous people.

The President, as Commander in Chief, is charged with the responsibility of deciding when to use military force to protect the nation and its interests. But he does not bear this weighty burden alone. The Constitution wisely divides this responsibility with the Congress, the representatives of the American people.

I stand ready to work with the Administration to make the right decision for our country and am prepared to return to Washington immediately if necessary."

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