U.S. Senator Kaine <email@example.com>
2:48 PM (6 hours ago)
September 11, 2013
Mr. Ferdinand Reinke
1641 International Dr Unit 414
McLean, VA 22102-4831
Dear Mr. Reinke:
Thank you for sharing your thoughts about the Senate vote on limited military action to punish Syria’s use of chemical weapons against civilians. This is a difficult issue and an important one.
First, I applaud President Obama for bringing the matter to Congress for a vote. Given a recent history where many Presidents have acted to initiate military action without legislative approval, I have been urging President Obama and his Administration to bring Congress fully into these decisions. We are stronger in any military action when the political leadership is united and Congress must go on record on a decision as serious as this.
Second, after significant classified and unclassified briefings, discussion with military and foreign policy experts, conversation with Virginians, and much thought, I voted in favor of authorizing limited military action. It has a specific purpose – to punish the Assad government for its use of chemical weapons and strongly deter any future use. The authorization is limited in scope and time, guarantees that no American troops will be deployed inside Syria for combat operations, and requires all diplomatic options to be exhausted before the commencement of any military strikes. These actions have helped pressure Assad to consider relinquishing his chemical weapons stockpile to international control. I welcome this development and will continue to carefully examine this and any other credible offers presented by the Russians and Syrians.
I voted for the authorization for a simple reason – there has been an international consensus against chemical weapons use since 1925 that has been followed in a near universal manner. The prohibition has protected civilians, as well as American servicemembers who have fought in Europe, the Pacific, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan without the threat of chemical weapons being used against them. If we allow Assad’s use of chemical weapons to kill combatants in a civil war and also innocent civilians, including hundreds of women and children, we can be guaranteed that he will do it again. He might use them against larger groups of civilians in Syria. Or he might use them against neighboring countries – Turkey, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon – with significant populations of American citizens and servicemembers. Unless we act to stop him now, we will send the message to other tyrants that using chemical weapons–is acceptable. That message jeopardizes the lives of our servicemembers in combat both today and in the future. It’s in our national security interest to defend the principle that has protected them from these inhumane weapons for nearly 90 years.
I believe that acting now to uphold the prohibition against chemical weapons will make us safer and avoid larger challenges in the future. I recognize the risk this poses, but I believe the risks of inaction are greater. If America leads, we will have partners. But if we do nothing, I am not sure that any nation will stand up against this horrific crime. I find the gassing of innocent men, women, and children intolerable, and believe there must be a consequence.
Once again, I appreciate your thoughts.
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What does one do when one’s “representatives” never listen!
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