Local lawmakers uncertain on Syrian strike

President Obama has called for the United States to take military action in Syria, but said he will first seek congressional authorization. Local lawmakers, though, remained much less certain Saturday that military involvement would be the right decision.

The President’s announcement came Saturday, August 31, 2013, in the White House Rose Garden.

“After careful deliberation, I have decided that the United States should take military action against Syrian targets. This would not be an open-ended intervention. We would not put boots on the ground,” Obama said.

U.S. intelligence believes the Syrian government used chemical weapons against its own people last week, killing more than 1,400 people.

“Here’s my question for every member of Congress and every member of the global community: What message will we send if a dictator can gas hundreds of children to death in plain sight and pay no price?” asked Obama.

But while local lawmakers called the attack “unthinkable” and “a moral outrage,” they remain less ready for military involvement. Rep. Dave Loebsack told News Eight he needs to see more of the President’s rationale before deciding whether to support a military attack.

“I’m not entirely convinced at this point that this is the right thing to do. And in fact, I’m quite certain that the American people are not convinced at this point that this is the right thing to do,” said Loebsack.

Loebsack also said that while the U.S. must do what’s in its own national interest, the country should consider possible consequences for taking action alone.

“Let’s just say that I think it’s critical that Great Britain is not going to be supportive, and I don’t think that bodes particularly well,” said Loebsack.

Wednesday, Rep. Cheri Bustos raised similar concerns.

“You’ve always got to start with the end in mind, and when we’re looking at something like sending missiles, which is part of the debate right now, I certainly want to make sure that we have the support of the international community,” said Bustos.

The President and local representatives do agree, though, that including Congress in the decision is vital, and that it is time for a national conversation on Syria.

Obama hopes Congress will debate and vote on a U.S. strike when they return from summer recess on September 9th.

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