Latham & King not “leaning,” but firm “no” votes on Syria strikes

Congressman Steve King, a Republican from Kiron, Iowa, held a 40 minute conference call/press conference with Iowa reporters this afternoon to announce he’s a no vote on a resolution authorizing military strikes into Syria.  Here’s the Radio Iowa story, excerpts below:

Republican Congressman Steve King says he’d vote “no” on a congressional resolution authorizing a military strike into Syria, but King believes Russia’s idea of getting the Syrian government to give up its chemical weapons may be the best answer for President Obama.

“To kind of find a diplomatic way to resolve this without a military strike I think would absolutely be welcomed by the House and the Senate,” King told reporters this afternoon in a telephone conference call. “

…King believes President Obama had the constitutional authority to order a limited military strike on his own in August shortly after initial reports that hundreds of Syrians had died from chemical weapons. King said Obama spawned a “global debate” by waiting for a vote in congress.

“I’m glad to have him consult us, but this has just turned into a diplomatic mess,” King said.

About two hours after the King call, Congressman Tom Latham, a Republican from Clive, Iowa, announced via email that he’s no longer “leaning against” but is a firm “no” on the matter.

WASHINGTON, DC – Iowa Congresswoman Tom Latham released the following statement announcing his position on proposed U.S. military action in Syria:

“Since the President started putting the wheels in motion that were leading our nation into military action against Syria I had agreed with the overwhelming majority of Americans in believing that the President had not made the case to justify such action.  However, out of respect for the president and the larger interests of our national security, I had not made a final decision on the matter so that I could have the benefit of fully reviewing all the facts.  That included waiting to make a decision until I could receive the classified briefing provided to members of congress by the President’s team.  I had the opportunity to see that briefing late yesterday.
I have seen no information – classified or unclassified – that would provide the justification for any serious minded person to support military action by the United States in Syria.  And so, my decision is very firm – I will not support any military action by the United States in Syria.

This would be an act of war.  And, I do not believe that we should be injecting the United States into a civil war, which is a sectarian war, with no clear or reasonable case on why this is vital to the security of the United States or our allies.

This process has confirmed the worst fears of many Americans and allies – that the United States currently has no compass directing foreign policy.  And, this current situation threatens our nation’s credibility and leadership role in the world.  Military action by our nation would only further damage that credibility and risk quickly igniting a regional – or larger – conflict that can be avoided.”                              

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.