It appears that U.S. Sen. Begich is leaning against voting for the use of force in Syria. In an hour-long telephonic town hall on Syria on Thursday evening, Begich listened and answered questions about what, until recently, was the United States’ imminent bombing of Syria in retaliation for using chemical weapons on its own citizens.
President Obama recently decided to bring the issue in front of Congress, which is expected to vote on a resolution next week which would authorize military action in Syria.
Begich’s answers to the wide ranging questions did in no way indicate that he was, as of yet, willing to support military action. He said that Americans and Alaskans weren’t “ready to engage” in another war. “Resources are stretched thin,” he said and Alaskans weren’t ready for more loss of life in the Middle East.
Most of the callers on Thursday appeared to be against military action, reflecting the country’s sentiment. A recent Washington Post/ABC News poll showed that six in 10 Americans are opposed to using military action in Syria. A Pew Research Center poll also found that 48 percent of adults are against military strikes while only 29 percent support such strikes.
Begich said that he has not yet heard a good argument for why bombing is in our national interest. He doesn’t know how much it would cost. He wasn’t sure that the resolution, drafted by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, satisfies his requirements for no ground combat. He said that the country doesn’t have the international support that would justify such action. And he hasn’t been “100 percent” assured that the strike, as planned, prepares for all contingencies.
If he can be convinced of the above, and more, he might be willing to support such action. It seems unlikely however that all of his concerns are going to be allayed.
Begich said that he was “absolutely” getting pressure from his party to vote for military strikes, but said that he “will make this judgment by what I think is right.”
Sen. Lisa Murkowski has been vague about what she’s going to do. Rep. Don Young has not. On his Facebook page he said, “(A)t the current time, I do not support U.S. military intervention in Syria’s civil war. After a dozen years, the American people are sick and tired of sacrificing lives in foreign wars.”
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