Transcript: Sen. Chris Coons’s explanation on vote for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s resolution to authorize military force against the Syrian government on Sept. 4, 2013

Partial transcript of remarks by Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) on the joint resolution to authorize military force against the Syrian government in response to the use of chemical weapons. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee vote was held on Sept. 4, 2013. 

…As Secretary [John] Kerry said to us, I think it is important not just what we decide as a body but how we decide it. And I think the cautious and thorough and deliberate discussion of this authorization of the use of force is one that meets the expectations of the American people, that the outcome is not predictable based on partisanship but is instead a reflection of the values and insights of each member of this committee.

As this authorization moves to a debate in the full Congress, I continue to be mindful that I represent a state as do many of us that is weary of war and where the input from my home state has been to strongly caution against a repeat of some of the issues that have been spoken to by other colleagues – that the conflict in Iraq brings to the fore.

I, personally, having reviewed in detail the intelligence offered by the administration am convinced that the administration of Bashar al-Assad his regime has used chemical weapons not once but likely repeatedly but that the attack two weeks ago in the Damascus suburbs massacred more than 1,000 innocent civilians.

And given the steady escalation, the steadily rising crescendo of death in Syria over the last two years that has graduated from using snipers and helicopters and jet fighters to using cluster bombs and SCUD missiles and now chemical weapons, in the absence of action by the United States to reinforce a global red line that has been enshrined in American statute and in global treaties for decade, in the absence of that action, Assad will use these weapons again. And we will be less safe, and our regional allies will be less safe.

There are, I think, risks to action. But I’ve been persuaded that the risks of inaction are greater…

This is not an act that I take with any lightness of heart and with a full recognition of the potential difficulties ahead. But I am persuaded that this is an important step that the United States must take…

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2 Comments on “Transcript: Sen. Chris Coons’s explanation on vote for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s resolution to authorize military force against the Syrian government on Sept. 4, 2013

  1. Pingback: Syria: Chemical Weapons | What The Folly?!

  2. Pingback: Transcript: Sen. Dick Durbin's explanation on vote for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's resolution to authorize military force against the Syrian government on Sept. 4, 2013 | What The Folly?!

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