December 19, 2014

Braley says Russian option for Syria would not be a cop out (audio)

Iowa Congressman Bruce Braley, a Democrat from Waterloo, told reporters today the background information he’s read on the Syria situation — and feedback from Iowans — led him to his decision on proposed military action. “I continue to believe that the use of military force in Syria is not the appropriate response, and is not necessary the national security interest of the United States,” Braley says.

President Obama had been pushing for a military strike against Syria in retaliation for the government there using chemical weapons against its own people. The president last night asked for a delay on a vote for military action while diplomatic alternatives are pursued. Russia has offered a proposal to get Syria to turn over its chemical weapons to international monitors, and Braley was asked if that action would be a compromise or a cop out.

“Well I don’t think that if we achieve the objective that everyone should desire — which is the identification and elimination of all chemical weapons in Syria — that anyone in the world could not conclude that that is a positive outcome and certainly not a cop out,” Braley responded. The Congressman says there is still a long way to go to reach the agreement to have Syria turn over its chemical weapons — but he believes the momentum is heading that way.

“And we’re going to find out in the near future whether that is indeed possible,” Braley says. “But it is clearly the burden of the international community to see that this happens, just as it is the responsibility of the international community to make sure that anyone who commits war crimes is held accountable. And I continue to believe that that is an option that is on the table.”

Braley says a report he received on military action against Syria says it could cost a much as $1-billion a month.

Audio: Braley conference call 20:00