Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) released the following statement yesterday regarding the upcoming debate in Congress about U.S. military action in Syria:
“Last Thursday, together with 60 other Members of Congress I wrote to President Obama condemning the apparent use of chemical weapons in Syria. We also urged the President to seek the agreement of Congress before taking any military action. I thank the President for heeding our call.
“Next week, Congress returns to Washington and the Syria debate will be front and center. The Northern Marianas will not have a vote in any resolution approving military action. Yet our men and women in the military could be put in harm’s way by a decision to use force in Syria.
“So I will be examining the intelligence carefully to be certain that we know chemical weapons have been used—and who used them. There will continue to be classified briefings for Members of Congress from the National Security Agency and the White House that I will attend next week.
“I will be looking closely at what alternative responses there may be, short of the U.S. taking unilateral action against the regime of Bashar Al-Assad in Syria. And I will be questioning what the outcome is likely to be if the U.S. does strike against Assad in retaliation for the chemical attack.
“The Northern Mariana Islands has lost 18 fine young men and women during the wars of the last decade. Before putting any more lives at risk, I want to know that we are certain of why we are acting and we have an endgame. Most important of all, I want to be certain that we have looked at every alternative before the U.S. commits its military forces or limited financial resources.
“We cannot stand by, while chemical weapons are being used in violation of international law. But we cannot send Americans to war without clearly defined goals that make the risk worthwhile.” (PR)