By BJ Reyes
U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has added her voice to those opposed to U.S. intervention in Syria.
Gabbard outlined her stance in a written statement issued late Sunday night:
“I am sickened and outraged by the carnage and loss of lives caused by the use of chemical weapons in Syria. It is with gravity that I have carefully considered all the facts, arguments, and evidence and soberly weighed concerns regarding our national security and moral responsibility. As a result, I have come to the conclusion that a U.S. military strike against Syria would be a serious mistake.
“I will therefore vote against a resolution that authorizes the use of military force in Syria. I will also strongly urge my colleagues to do the same.
Gabbard returned to Washington, D.C., last week -- cutting short a visit to her district -- to participate in a House Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Syria. In addition to questioning Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey, she also attended a series of classified briefings before arriving at her decision.
She is the third member of Hawaii's four-member, all-Democratic delegation to oppose U.S. action in Syria. U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa and U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz last week said they would oppose such action. U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono said she is reviewing the latest intelligence reports and briefings and weighing her decision.
President Barack Obama has spent the past week pressing his case in Congress and to world leaders that a limited strike is needed to punish the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad for the alleged Aug. 21 use of chemical weapons against a civilian population.
Gabbard, a captain in the U.S. Army National Guard and a combat veteran, said she remained unconvinced that the administration has made the case for U.S. intervention.
She added that she did not think a limited strike would eliminate Syria’s stores of chemical weapons and a destabilization of the region could lead to such weapons falling into the hands of terrorist groups, including al-Qaida, intent on harming the United States.
“We should learn from history; we cannot afford to be the world’s policeman. The United States should not insert itself in the midst of this civil war, which is rooted in sectarian hatred and animosity between various warring religious groups."