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New Hampshire’s congressional delegation weighs in on Syria

  • Ann Kuster

    Ann Kuster

  • Carol Shea-Porter;  Tuesday, October 23, 2012. <br/><br/>(ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff)

    Carol Shea-Porter; Tuesday, October 23, 2012.

    (ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff)

  • U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen meets with the Monitor for an editorial review board; Monday, March 21, 2011.

    U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen meets with the Monitor for an editorial review board; Monday, March 21, 2011.

  • FILE - Senate Armed Services Committee member Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., questions former Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel, President Obama's choice to lead the Pentagon, during his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, in this Jan. 31, 2013 file photo. A woman whose mother was killed in last year's school shooting in Newtown, Conn., confronted Sen. Kelly Ayotte Tuesday April 30, 2013 during the senator's first public appearance in New Hampshire since voting against gun control legislation.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

    FILE - Senate Armed Services Committee member Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., questions former Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel, President Obama's choice to lead the Pentagon, during his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, in this Jan. 31, 2013 file photo. A woman whose mother was killed in last year's school shooting in Newtown, Conn., confronted Sen. Kelly Ayotte Tuesday April 30, 2013 during the senator's first public appearance in New Hampshire since voting against gun control legislation. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

  • Ann Kuster
  • Carol Shea-Porter;  Tuesday, October 23, 2012. <br/><br/>(ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff)
  • U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen meets with the Monitor for an editorial review board; Monday, March 21, 2011.
  • FILE - Senate Armed Services Committee member Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., questions former Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel, President Obama's choice to lead the Pentagon, during his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, in this Jan. 31, 2013 file photo. A woman whose mother was killed in last year's school shooting in Newtown, Conn., confronted Sen. Kelly Ayotte Tuesday April 30, 2013 during the senator's first public appearance in New Hampshire since voting against gun control legislation.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Alone among her colleagues in New Hampshire’s congressional delegation, U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, a Democrat, took a firm stance yesterday against U.S. military intervention in Syria.

“While Syrian President Assad has committed vicious crimes against his own people, and I especially condemn the use of chemical weapons, it is hard to see at this time how a military strike against Syria will fix this,” she said in a statement. “If the United States launches a sustained and heavy attack, we run the risk of swapping Assad out for some equally ruthless group. If we launch a smaller, targeted attack, we run the risk of emboldening President Assad and causing more casualties.”

The international community has spent recent days determining how to respond to Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons during an Aug. 21 attack on opposition fighters near the capital of Damascus, which reportedly killed more than 300 people. The U.S. government has indicated it may launch a military strike against the Syrian regime in coming days. But members of Congress continued to question yesterday whether there was strong enough evidence linking Assad to the use of chemical weapons and challenged whether President Obama has the authority to launch a strike without congressional approval. Britain’s House of Commons also voted down participating in military action yesterday.

Shea-Porter’s fellow New Hampshire Democrats, Rep. Annie Kuster and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, both said they were not in favor of putting U.S. troops on the ground in Syria. Neither took a firm stance on whether the U.S. should launch any military action, but said the president should be “extremely cautious” before using force.

“This is a clear violation of basic human rights and the international community must hold Assad accountable. With that said, we should not put American troops on the ground,” Kuster said in a statement.

Kuster also said the president should closely consult with Congress before intervening. But neither she nor Shea-Porter, who sits on the House Armed Services Committee, joined more than 100 lawmakers in signing a formal letter requesting the president seek congressional approval before taking action, the Washington Post reported.

A statement from Shaheen’s communications director, Shripal Shah, echoed Kuster’s comments. Shaheen sits on both the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees.

“Senator Shaheen believes that the Assad regime must be held to account by the international community for the indiscriminate use of chemical weapons against innocent civilians including Syrian children. She is not in favor of U.S. troops on the ground in Syria,” Shah said.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, a Republican who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in remarks reported Wednesday she would support military action if President Obama justifies that action to the public, clearly states his objectives, has international support and consults with Congress.

“The chemical attacks in Syria are deplorable and the President’s red line has been crossed again. Iran is watching and will take its cue on its own nuclear weapons program based on how the U.S. responds to Syria’s use of weapons of mass destruction,” she said in a statement.

She then outlined the above conditions and added, “If those conditions are met, I would support strategic military action to stop the use of weapons of mass destruction and turn the tide against Assad.”

(Kathleen Ronayne can be reached at 369-3309 or
kronayne@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @kronayne.)

It seems obvious that Ayotte is more concerned with the "Obama administration" than the topic at hand. As usual, this is another way to play politics, as with most of the comments above about the big, bad Democrats. This is a serious subject. Human lives are at stake. What should the US' roll be in the wake of this tragedy? Should we try to join with other nations in some peaceful way to bring about permanent change (affecting all regimes in the future that attempt the use of chemical weapons on their people, or others) as some are suggesting? Or should we make a list of "red lines" and bomb those who cross them? Folks, human lives, not Democrats and Republicans!

The international community should be turning to the International Criminal Court (ICC)! This crime should not be the sole responsibility of the U.S. military. A unilateral attack by the U.S. is a BAD idea. Hurray for Shea-Poter, Kuster and Shaheen for speaking out against an attack!

Obama ran on a platform of NEVER attacking a country unilaterally. The democrats are MASSIVE hypocrites

Democrats hypocritical actions to remember : Joe Biden arguing, in 2007, that if the president took the nation to war without congressional authorization, Biden would make it his mission to impeach that president........ In 2007 Obama Introduced a Senate Resolution to Block an Unauthorized Attack on Iran

Anybody remember when Hillary praised Assad ? HEADLINE : Syrian President Assad Regarded As a ‘Reformer,’ Clinton Says March 28, 2011 - Both Kerry & Pelosi also traveled to Syria to praise Assad against the BUSH State Dept instructions. Now you know the real democrats not the pandering ones in this article

Why is this about the Democrats and not about Syria?

“Senator Shaheen believes that the Assad regime must be held to account by the international community for the indiscriminate use of chemical weapons against innocent civilians including Syrian children.".......Whats that mean?

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