Washington, D.C.— Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee was joined by 53 Members of Congress on a letter to President Obama condemning the reported use of chemical weapons in Syria and calling for full congressional debate an appropriate response. The letter comes on the heels of rumors surrounding a military strike in Syria.
The letter reads, in part: “While we understand that as Commander in Chief you have a constitutional obligation to protect our national interests from direct attack, Congress has the constitutional obligation and power to approve military force, even if the United States or its direct interests (such as its embassies) have not been attacked or threatened with an attack. As such, we strongly urge you to seek an affirmative decision of Congress prior to committing any U.S. military engagement to this complex crisis.
“We must learn the lessons of the past. Lessons from Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and others,” said Congresswoman Lee. “We must recognize that what happens in Syria does not stay in Syria; the implications for the region are dire.”
The letter further calls for U.N. inspectors to complete their assessments of the existence of the use of chemical weapons, as well as denounces the human rights violations taking place.
“This letter is calling for a specific action: debate. Congress has a vital role this in this process and constitutional power that must be respected,” said Congresswoman Lee. “The American people are demanding this debate before we commit our military, our money, or our forces to Syria.”
A full list of signers and a pdf of the letter can be found here.