The president has asked us to weigh in on attacking Syria, reported a Sept. 1 story “Obama to seek backing on Syria.” The U.S., with the international community, must react strongly to all of the tragic violence in Syria, but military strikes are not the answer. I believe that the president’s proposal for U.S. military action in Syria is a mistake because it will undermine the emerging international consensus against the use of chemical weapons in Syria, is very likely to kill more Syrians, and may intensify and spread the conflict.
The international community has political tools to negotiate an end to the killing in Syria. We must make them effective. The U.S. needs to engage with the Arab League, Russia and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to build a process that leads to peace and effectively brings those using chemical weapons to justice. This will be hard, but our nation is not weak, we can meet the challenge when it is the right thing to do. I hope Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, and Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., will reject the president’s request to authorize U.S. military force in Syria and promote diplomacy.