Congressman Scott DesJarlais told News 2 Monday he does not think Congress will approve the president’s call for a limited military strike in Syria.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -
Just back from a classified security briefing in Washington on the Syrian chemical weapons attack, 4th District Republican Congressman Scott DesJarlais told News 2 "its not 100% clear who is responsible," and "my sense is both sides of the aisle are against getting involved."
DesJarlais, who flew to Washington Sunday for the briefing, continued, "I don't see where the [Syrian] Assad regime has posed a direct threat to America or its allies, and I think that right now with our experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, people are very wary about starting and escalating another conflict."
The congressman represents a growing chorus of opposition among Washington lawmakers who will be asked by President Obama for approval of a limited military strike against the Syrian leadership.
It comes after an August 21 chemical weapons attack that the Obama Administration believes was carried out by the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad against opposition factions in the country's civil war.
"I think any strike on Syria is more likely than not to lead to an escalation and further involvement," said Rep. DesJarlais. "I don't think [Syria] will just sit back and take it. I think Israel would be a likely target and I think it's reasonable to believe there would be retaliation in the form of terrorism attacks here in the United States."
"I would say most people would say no to a civil war that is likely to escalate, and I am one of those," he added.
DesJarlais told News 2 he does not think Congress will approve the president's call for the limited military strike when it reconvenes in Washington on September 9.
He said his opposition and what he predicts about Congressional action "could change if Assad launches a large scale chemical weapons attack."
Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who represents a district that includes Williamson County, the Clarksville area near Ft. Campbell and suburbs around Memphis, has reservations similar to her Republican colleague.
In a statement released to News 2, Blackburn said, in part, "The president needs to respect the constitution and recognize that authority for action in Syria must come from Congress. If the president deems that military action in Syria is necessary, I stand ready to return to Washington to allow the president the opportunity to state his case to my colleagues and the American people. Most of my constituents oppose action in Syria and have growing concerns about the region."