From the office of U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski:
U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) today spoke on the Senate floor to announce her support for President Barack Obama’s plan for limited, targeted military action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in response to the August 21, 2013 use of chemical weapons on the Syrian people.
Senator Mikulski’s remarks on the Senate floor, as delivered, follow:
“Within a few days, the Senate will be called on to vote on whether to give the President of the United States limited authority to use military action in response to Syrian President Assad’s use of chemical weapons against his own people. It is an enormous and grave decision. It is the most serious vote I can take. When a United States Senator is called upon to authorize the use of American military action or military might, it calls for the most sober reflection, the most due diligent analysis of the facts and the compelling need.
“It is one of the few votes that you cannot take back. We could vote on our budget this year, but there is another vote next year. You could vote to nominate a member of the President’s Cabinet, but they serve at the pleasure of the President. But once you vote to use our military might, or military action, it is irrevocable. So I take it very seriously.
“I want to say to the men and women of our military, we owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude. And I think that debt should be not only with yellow ribbons, but that we should also owe them the due diligence to choose the wisest, most prudent course.
“This is what I’ve done as I’ve contemplated my vote on the Syria resolution. I’ve gone to numerous briefings before Assad used chemical weapons, and I’ve gone to all the briefings since then. I’ve participated as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee in a variety of meetings. I’ve gone to a classified House and Senate briefing. I’ve listened carefully to the President, to the Secretary of State and to the Secretary of Defense. I’ve even had the opportunity to sit with the Vice President of the United States in the White House Situation Room to go over this situation and the options available to the United States of America.
“I’m the Senator from Maryland. I’ve also listened to my Marylanders. Whether it’s been at events or meetings or going around the state. Whether it’s been grocery shopping or just being out in the Maryland community. I have also gotten thousands of emails and calls from Maryland constituents. And I want to thank them for their civic engagement.
“They overwhelmingly oppose military action in Syria. My constituents have spoken loud and clear. They don’t want war. They don’t want boots on the ground. They don’t want an ‘all-in’ war effort. They don’t want us to use or expend American lives and treasure on another military expedition. They don’t want war. And neither do I. Yet the use of chemical weapons, a weapon of mass destruction, grim and ghoulish, mandates a response.
“The use of chemical weapons flies in the face of international law and international norms. It is an act that should have consequences, or I believe it will surely happen again.
“Since the attack, I have been waiting and hoping for worldwide reaction. Because if it’s serious enough for the world to be aghast, then it’s serious enough for them to respond.
“I’ve been waiting to hear from the 189 countries that are signatories to the Chemical Weapons Convention. I believe that if you sign a treaty or convention, you sign up for the responsibility that comes with that. Which means stopping the proliferation of the weapons that you signed against. Stopping the proliferation of chemical weapons. And also, if necessary, taking action if mandated.
“I have waited to hear from the Arab League. I wanted to hear from the Arab League saying something beyond wanting Assad to be accountable. I don’t know what ‘hold him accountable,’ means. Does it mean that if we use missiles, they will defend women and children? I haven’t quite heard that.
“I have waited to hear from allies. And there are a hearty, reliable few who have supported us. Are they going to help enforce the Chemical Weapons Treaty? Are they going to help support the moderates in the opposition? Have they called for a donor conference on refugees?
“I have waited on the U.N. Security Council. I applaud the work of the U.N. weapons inspectors and the U.N.’s work with millions of Syrian refugees. But where is the U.N. Security Council? People say, ‘oh we can’t act unless the Security Council acts.’ Three times these ‘Assad-enablers’ at the U.N., Russia and China, have vetoed every effort to move to a political solution. The U.N. seems paralyzed in its effort.
“In deciding my vote, I had to be sure chemical weapons were used by the Assad regime. Mr. President, I was one of 23 senators who voted against going to war in Iraq. I did vote after 9/11 to use lethal action against the Taliban. But when it came to the Iraq War, as a member of the Intelligence Committee, I had reviewed these briefs, and I didn’t believe Saddam Hussein had nuclear weapons. So I voted no. And I was right.
“But now this time is different. Because I truly believe after extensive briefings and evidence that has been outlined to members of the Intelligence Committee, I am satisfied that indeed chemical weapons were used in Syria. And I am satisfied that the Assad regime gave the order to do so.
“There are those who say to me, ‘Well, Senator Barb, aren’t you concerned about the risk of retaliation if we take action?’ You bet I am. I worry about that. I worry about my own country. I worry about our own military. I worry about treasured allies like Jordan, Israel and Turkey.
“But I also worry about the risk of doing nothing. Because as I weighed this, I believed that the risk and retaliatory possibilities are the same even if we don’t act. Because there’s a very good chance that if we don’t respond, they’ll use them anyway. So there’s no guarantee that by doing nothing the bad guys that have chemical weapons will do nothing. In fact, I fear that Assad, Iran and North Korea will be further emboldened.
“Lastly, I had to review the President’s resolution that came out of the Foreign Relations Committee modified and the President’s plan. The President’s proposal is very straightforward – a targeted, limited attack. Its purpose is to deter and to degrade: to deter Assad from using those weapons again, and to degrade Assad’s capability and capacity to using them.
“I also listened to the President’s promise, and I take him at his word. Any action would not be boots on the ground. That it is not an extended air campaign. That it is not another Iraq or Afghanistan. That we are not in it to try to do regime change. That must come from the Syrian opposition themselves, and I hope others help do that. It is meant to deter the use of chemical weapons, and to degrade Assad’s capability.
“I believe the President’s plan is the best response to protecting U.S. Security interests in the region, and to showing commitment to our common security interests with allies like Turkey, Jordan and Israel.
“Therefore after really great reflection and as much due diligence as I could do, I want to announce today to my colleagues and to the people of Maryland, that I will support the President’s request for a targeted, limited military action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in response to the horrific grim and ghoulish use of chemical weapons.
“Let me be clear. I have no grand hopes or illusions about what this strike will do. I don’t believe a strike will stop Syria’s brutal civil war. I don’t believe a strike will stop Assad from being a ruthless, brutal dictator. I do not believe a strike will eliminate all of his chemical weapons. But I do believe that it will deter and degrade his capacity to strike again. And I do believe what when you sign up for a convention to ban the use of chemical weapons, that the United States of America acts with its responsibility.
“Syria is one of the toughest foreign policy issues that we have focused on. There aren’t many good options, yet I believe that the President’s plan is the best way, and, as of this moment, the only way forward. He has my support.
“And in today’s late breaking news, I understand Russia has now said, ‘Oh let’s put these weapons under international control.’ But where were the Russians in the U.N. Security Council during those three other occasions? Is this another tactic for delay? Is this just another tactic to enable Assad to have more time to focus? I remain skeptical. But I will leave it to the President to analyze the Russian’s intent and what their follow-through is on that intent.
“My vote does not mandate a strike, but my vote is to say, ‘Mr. President, you are the Commander in Chief. We can only have one at a time. You analyze the situation and if you think it is necessary to protect the security of the United States of America and to fulfill our responsibilities under the conventions that we have signed on chemical weapons, you have my support to act in what you think is the best way and the best interests.’
“I look forward to additional debate with my colleagues, and furthering this debate and coming to closure, hopefully this week.”
Then she should go there…Not our troops.
Marc A Eaton says
No more troops dying in wars we do not want to win. Stay at home and defend our borders and stop trying to police the world. We have this war on poverty that politicians have been fighting for years, instead of sending money to these countries and their corrupt leaders lets take care of the real problems in our country. 100 million on a vacation and we have homeless and hungry kids, really Babs. You and the rest of the of your peeps only worry about the next election. And by peeps I mean democrats and republicans, you all should be ashamed but we know that you all are missing that gene.
I believe this is one of the first times Reps and Dems have agreed on an issue together. No one wants to put our brave Men and Women into harms way yet again. Obama and his cronies are the only ones who are in favor of this war. I keep asking myself, what is in it for them? What will they gain from it? I still can’t figure it out.
May I introduce you to the military-industrial complex? Follow the money.
Mike Welsh says
In deciding her vote, the Senator says that she had to be sure that chemical weapons were used by the Assad regime. Since she has become assured of that, she has decided to vote yes for military intervention.
What would the Senator have wanted done if it had been the rebels that had used the chemical weapons? Isn’t use of such weapons just as bad if used by the rebels? Shouldn’t we bomb the rebels if they use chemical weapons? After all, we only want to send a message!
Given all of the Senators reasons for agreeing to military intervention she should want to bomb and kill people regardless of which side in the conflict used chemical weapons. After all, if we don’t intervene, they might do it again.
dumb ass says
she went on and on against Iraq after she supported it. Bashed Bush for starting wars. Now this cunt bag wants to attack another nation. If you continue to support idiots such as this you deserve every pay cut, every stock drop, and every lost job you and your ideologue friends have coming. I hope you all rot in bankrupt progressive hell.
Typical behavior on both sides these days, unfortunately. If your guy bombs someone it’s awful, if my guy bombs someone it’s wonderful. No more consideration of what’s good for the country in the long run, everything is for political gain. Congress has gone from being representatives of the people to an entrenched group of rulers, like the nobility in the middle ages. Their main concern is preserving their power and privileges at the expense of the country as a whole.
“Let me be clear. I have no grand hopes or illusions about what this strike will do.” — Great, so let’s strike anyway so Barry can save face.
So, how many Syrians have been killed by conventional weapons during this war? Where have you been for the last two years?
Conventional or Chemical…..either way, they’re dead. Why is one so much more taboo than the other? You don’t think that lying in a pool of your own blood, remaining just conscious enough to take your last painful breath as you slowly choke on your own blood and guts is any better than lying on the ground with a foaming mouth, remaining just conscious enough to take your last painful breath as your body shuts itself down?
You are truly just a puppet for the Democraps and Barry. The fact that you’ve made a career out of being a “public servant” shows just how stupid we are as a people.
The Money Tree says
The supposed “moderate” Syrian resistance has been pillaging villages and killing Christians who will not convert to Islam. They recently beheaded a Syrian priest…guess that’s not an atrocity. Better not use gas, but go ahead and cut off people’s heads because that’s OK.
The Money Tree says
As is typical this tool tows the party line regardless of how dumb it is – face it folks she doesn’t give two craps about her constituents – the other 49%.. She’s always relied on the 51% + of idiots in the state who are ill informed, on the dole, public employees or otherwise useless to keep her in office regardless of the stupid crap she says (or does). She will never be voted out and she knows it. She doesn’t care that there’s no proof Assad is responsible for the gasing. She doesn’t care that her leader, Mr. Obama also a tool has completely botched the problem in Syria. She doesn’t care that there have been any number of atrocities including suspected gas used against civilians in numerous other instances not so long ago and for which we did nothing. She doesn’t care that a thinking person recognizes that it’s all about saving Obama’s butt that he himself left out there because he’s an immature, petulant, self-absorbed, delusional and incompetent pretender – she know’s she’s got that 51% + of useless tools that will always support incompetence if it benefits them.
ALEX R says
Senator Mikulski is supporting the president because, well, because, it’s the right thing to do? No, wait. Because she can think for herself? No, that’s not it. Because, uh, because, uh. Oh, I know, because he is a Lib/Dem and she is a Lib/Dem and all of the Lib/Dems have to stick together no matter what is right or wrong.
If the president wants to do it then it is automatically right. Anyone who opposes whatever the president wants to do is a mean, homophobic moron who hates children and the elderly and the poor and is against women and Obamacare and discriminates against all races and is trying to throw poor Mexican children back across the Rio Grande and despises environmentalists. Between the two of them they would have to cheat to get their combined IQ past 99 but they are way up there on the arrogance and hypocrisy scales.
You have it nailed Alex. Money Tree before your comments is also correct. Dutch and Ben fall into the same category. They will do whatever it takes to get re-elected, to hell with what is right for our country. Remember, they all three voted for Obamacare too!
There can/will be nothing moderate about a strike.
For real! says
Yeah… tell that to the ones left maimed and dying by our hands or the ones left to pick those bodies up, it was only a moderate strike to punish your leader…They’ll be glad for that… They’ll thank us.
The problem as I understand it, is giving Him the go ahead. Our Senator can say she only wants limited action, but once she says, “go.” the president is in control of the military and any action he wants to take. The hand off is all he needs. The resolution really makes no difference. After the vote he is free to do as much or as little as he wants. Congress’ power is in the deciding of going to war or not. Their power is not in running the war itself or limiting the scope of any given war, that is handed to the president. Their power will be reduced to funding the action taken by the president, and any denial of funding will be seen as not supporting our sons and daughters, who are serving the cause of freedom, causing them to be in greater harm.
Any action we take with the military here is an act of war. People will die and war will be waged regardless of “boots on the ground.”
I think someone needs to buy Senator Mikulski and President Obama a copy of Foreign Policy for Dummies.
JO JO DANCER says
I think all of you are ill infromed and low information voters.
The Money Tree says
Confucious say “when Insulting the intelligence of others it is of upmost importance to review 12 word sentence for spelling errors especially when 8 of twelve words are 3 letters or less”.
Jaguar Judy says
What did you expect from one of Santa’s reindeer? Isn’t Jo Jo Dancer the one just behind Rudolph? No, wait, I think he is the one at the back sniffing everyone else.
I’m not a fan of either Cardin or Mikulski. That said, they are our MD US Senators so like many, I emailed them both last week and vigorously stated they should listen to their constituents and not vote for attacking Syria, in spite of the recent chem weapons incident. Reasons included: not our fight, they should focus on probs here in the U.S., and we are going bankrupt already w/17 Trillion$ in US debt.
They are not listening to their constituents. Today I emailed both their offices and asked the staffer reviewing my email to find a second staffer, then find the Senator(s) and help them pull their head out of their sphincters so they could listen to the voters.
I don’t expect these a-hole MD politicians to listen but felt momentarily better regardless.
Let,s buy the liberal jackasses a copy of the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire.
For real! says
At this point what this POS president is proposing…. is to beat the dog a year after he peed on the chair leg…. WTH? Every day that passes, this becomes more and more ridiculous and he just can’t stand that… he needs to shut up and leave it alone and Mikulski needs to be given a retirement party yesterday!…. Do they realize how utterly STUPID they look to us?
ALEX R says
They don’t care how stupid they look. Obama is in his 2nd term and has nothing ahead of him. His legacy will be that he was the first black President and if you say anything critical of him you are a racist. Mikulski gets elected every time by her constituency and can flip the bird to all of the rest of us. Which she does with impunity.
RU Kidding says
What the hell is a limited strike? A slap on the wrist? This administration is alreading backing the rebels, a bunch of terrorists beheading, dismembering, slaughtering innocent people. I don’t know which heaven Obummer thinks he came from but it’s time to seriously consider impeachment. Even some of the senate is skeptical of the Commander in Chief – about time Babs woke up, said goodbye and thank you to the Americans that will provide her a very generous pension for the rest of her life.