MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

September 4, 2013

State delegation largely opposed to intervention in Syria


Associated Press

— OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Republican U.S. Reps. Tom Cole and James Lankford both said Wednesday they are opposed to U.S. military intervention in Syria, citing widespread opposition across their districts to such an action.

Resistance to any U.S. military involvement in the war-torn Middle Eastern country appears to be growing among Oklahoma’s all GOP congressional delegation, with most members saying they oppose intervention or are leaning toward opposition.

“This is not the type of conflict we should be involved in. It’s a civil war. It’s a proxy war between regional powers, with the Saudis on one side and the Iranians on the other, and it’s a religious war. It really is a messy situation,” Cole said Wednesday during a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “I don’t think it’s an appropriate use of the American military, and there’s certainly no public support that I can find for it in my district or, talking to my colleagues, in any other part of the state. So, you put all those things together, and I see no compelling American security interest.”

Cole said he was received classified briefings on Sunday with about 100 other members of Congress after President Barack Obama said he planned to seek congressional approval for limited military action in Syria, but remained unconvinced that such a course of action was appropriate.

Lankford also said Wednesday he remained opposed to U.S. military intervention in Syria.

“It is my belief that U.S. military involvement in Syria’s civil war is not in our national interest,” Lankford said in a statement. “I will review the classified materials in Washington, D.C., but from what I have heard to date, the proposal on the table does not achieve our larger goal in the Middle East of stability or a reduction of chemical weapon threats.”

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Wednesday after a classified briefing with military and defense officials that he remained opposed to the current plan for military intervention in Syria.

“I’ve said repeatedly the President must first explain our objectives and end state in Syria, present a long-term strategy for the region and the means to fund it, as well as clarify the risks associated with military intervention,” Inhofe said in a statement. “Despite several years of bloodshed, we’re just now seeing a last minute rush by the White House to gain the support of Congress and the American people.

“Until the President comes forward with answers to these questions, no one should vote to authorize an act of war on Syria.”

U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin announced his opposition to military intervention on Tuesday, and U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine said he was leaning toward opposition.