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Local News

September 10, 2013

Cole says no to U.S. military action in Syria

DUNCAN — U.S. Rep. Tom Cole plans to vote against U.S. military action in Syria, calling it an inappropriate use of American power that would only be used to make a diplomatic point.

“More importantly, my constituents certainly have not been convinced that this policy is wise, prudent or without risk,” Cole, R-Okla., said in a news release Monday.

“I represent 750,000 people, and when those people think this strongly about such an important issue, I certainly have an obligation to make sure their views are reflected in my vote.”

Cole represents Oklahoma’s 4th congressional district, which includes Duncan and all of Stephens County.

President Obama is trying to garner congressional backing for military strikes on Syria as retribution for its president, Bashar Assad, allegedly backing a poisonous gas attack near Damascus that killed more than 1,400 people.

The Democrat-led U.S. Senate could vote on military action later this week and Obama plans to give a speech too the nation Tuesday night. But even if Obama wins the Senate vote, getting the Republican-controlled House to go along appears to be in serious doubt.

Cole said the Syrian conflict was a violent and unfortunate situation but U.S. military intervention was not in our best interest. He said it was a civil war,  religious war and a “proxy war” between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

He said Obama’s proposal was a gesture, not a clear policy or military strategy, and would not change conditions on the ground or even be aimed at changing the Syrian regime.

“Instead, the president’s proposal is a thinly diplomatic ploy that recklessly uses our brave men and women to make a point,” Cole said.

He said if military action is warranted in Syria “against an Arab government to protect an Arab population,” America should let other Arab governments take the lead.

He said sentiment against military action is apparent across the 4th district in Oklahoma and has come across “loud and clear” during town hall meetings and “literally at every public and private meeting and casual encounter I have had since the president decided to put this before Congress.”

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