Response from my Senator on Military Involvement in Syria

I received this response on Syria from the Senator that represents my area.

Much, if not all appears to be a boiler plate response. Perhaps that’s to be expected considering the volume of communication he must receive. The answer, from his point of view is another country in the Middle East poses a national threat to us because of the war conditions within their own country. Their potential to harbor terrorists goes up unless we act. “Regional stability in the Middle East is in our national interest.”

Bashar and Asma al-Assad, President and first-...

Bashar and Asma al-Assad, President and first-wife of Syria. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m not trying to be callous in my reaction but somehow it strikes me hollow when statistics are given over the number of people who died within Syria. No doubt there’s a civil war going on and just like Libya, Egypt and now Syria, thousands more have or will die. I agree this should stop and the use of chemical weapons by whomever should also cease. The problem with proclamations of crossing a boundary on human suffering or death, there is very little another country like the United States can do without creating a larger problem in the region.

The letter attempts to lay out the possibility of a peaceful solution brokered primarily by Russia and agreed to by the U.S. to remove chemical weapons from Syria. The explanation given later suggests doubtfulness this will occur leaving the door open to an unidentified action which almost everyone realizes would come from the U.S. . . we must be willing to act to restore regional stability and neutralize the threat of Assad’s chemical stockpile if chemical weapons use continues or if the threat to U.S. national security increases.  While I do not support the deployment of U.S. troops within Syria, the United States must be willing to take military action when threatened. The use of force to create stability in the Middle East won’t occur by our threats or launching tactical targeted missiles & bombs.

I believe the only way any country in this region will resume a peaceful partnership with the rest of the world is to allow them to work it out for themselves. Any artificial attempt on our part to bring resolution to a country like Syria, can occur only if we are willing to involve ourselves in a longer term occupation of the country. We can look to many large cities within the U.S. and see, stability is often only achieved through a show of force by police. Some areas are more hostile than others and those require constant involvement.

I don’t believe the majority of the people in the U.S. are willing to weather that type of commitment. It’s very difficult to continuously make the case that each unstable country in the Middle East is a threat to our nation. Anyone who studies world history over the centuries, knows stability is a temporary condition for most of this region. If nothing else, Iraq should give us perspective after our 10+ year involvement. After we left, the people within Iraq are still fighting it out and stability there is a myth, which our politicians would like us to believe.

ImageThank you for contacting me regarding Syria.  Your taking time to contact me is appreciated.

 As you are aware, in March 2011, Syrian protesters began calling for political reforms and the reinstatement of civil rights under the corrupt regime of President Bashar al-Assad.  Since that time, the situation in Syria has devolved into a civil war between pro-government forces loyal to the Assad regime and a coalition of rebel groups.  The conflict has cost well over one hundred thousand Syrian lives, mostly civilians.

 This conflict threatens the stability of the entire region.  Recent reports from the United Nations indicate that approximately 6.5 million people have been displaced by the civil war.  Over two million of these refugees are seeking safe haven in Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey, and Egypt.  It is imperative that the United States remains committed to joining with partner nations in providing humanitarian assistance to these displaced refugees.  Regional stability in the Middle East is in our national interest. 

 While I am deeply concerned about the regional effects of the Syrian conflict, I am very troubled by the threat of chemical weapons within Syria.  Since August 2012, President Obama has stated that the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime would be a red line that his Administration would not tolerate.  Since March 2013, we have received reports of the employment of chemical weapons by forces loyal to President Assad.  The most egregious of these attacks took place on August 21, 2013, and is estimated to have killed over 1,400 people, including approximately 400 children.  The recently released United Nations report on the attack provides indisputable evidence that sarin was used and additional evidence attributing the attack to Assad’s regime.  Despite this evidence, President Obama has failed to take any meaningful action to neutralize the threat posed by these weapons.  

 The United States and Russia have recently reached an agreement to bring Syria’s chemical weapons under international control.  While I am hopeful that this diplomatic solution will be successful, I have significant concerns about the agreement and the ability or willingness of the Syrian regime to comply with it.  The agreement will be difficult to verify, and Syrian and Russian intentions have been called into question throughout the conflict.  Even if the agreement is successful in removing Assad’s chemical weapons, the civil war will continue to destabilize the region and create a safe haven for those who want to attack America. 

 Further compounding the challenge posed by the Assad regime’s disregard for international law and human rights is the increase in the number of extremist fighters who are traveling from all over the world to gain control of territory in Syria and carry out attacks.  In this way, they can have an operating area closer to the United States and our European allies to carry out their mission of attacking the Western Hemisphere.  The United States cannot permit those terrorist groups that would do us harm and oppose democracy to expand their reach and operate freely in Syria.  Preventing such terrorist safe havens is a national security imperative.

I firmly believe that we must be willing to act to restore regional stability and neutralize the threat of Assad’s chemical stockpile if chemical weapons use continues or if the threat to U.S. national security increases.  While I do not support the deployment of U.S. troops within Syria, the United States must be willing to take military action when threatened.  It is past time for the United States to develop and implement a unified, comprehensive response and strategy in Syria.  As the Senate continues to debate this issue, I will keep your thoughts in mind.

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One thought on “Response from my Senator on Military Involvement in Syria

  1. Greg Tarpley

    Here’s the one I received from Renee Ellmers.


    Thank you for contacting me regarding the ongoing humanitarian and civil crisis in Syria. It is good to hear from you, and I am happy to respond to your concerns.

    As you know, as part of the anti-authoritarian movements spreading through the Middle-East in 2011, known as the “Arab Spring,” demonstrations against President Bashar Al-Assad and the ruling Syrian Ba’ath Party began to grow. The opposition movement is composed of a wide range of groups and influences, ranging from moderate reformers to extremist forces. Since mid-2012, major violence has spread to many larger cities including Damascus and Aleppo, with the Syrian Army cracking down on rebel opposition forces with brutal violence. In May 2013, it was estimated that as many as 90,000 civilians have been killed in the rebellion.

    Without any sign of resolution or ceasefire between the Syrian government and the opposition coalition and with the conflict increasing tensions with regional neighbors including Israel, Iran, and Lebanon; several international actors including the United States, the European Union, Russia, and China have sought to address the growing crisis. Many view the impending Geneva II Conference on Syria convened by the United States and Russia as an opportunity to finally resolve the situation, though some have expressed concerns that the possible exclusion of certain players, particularly Iran, may prevent a lasting compromise.

    Rest assured that I share your desire for a swift and peaceful resolution to this horrifying conflict and that all steps should be taken to avoid committing U.S. forces to another costly conflict, especially as we endeavor to finally bring the War in Afghanistan to a close. At this time, I see nothing but hardship, danger, and unprovoked sacrifice on the shoulders of our military, our troops, and their families. For these and many other reasons, which have been echoed by my constituents, I cannot support military action against Syria at this time. Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me on this matter. I look forward to communicating with you in the future as I serve the people of the Second District of North Carolina. If you would be interested in receiving my e-newsletter, or for other information, please visit my website at to sign up or contact me.

    Renee Ellmers
    Member of Congress

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