Rothfus: U.S. shouldn’t rush into Syrian fight
Posted: Saturday, August 31, 2013 7:05 pm | Updated: 8:08 pm, Sat Aug 31, 2013.
Posted on August 31, 2013
Keith Rothfus said he believes the response to war crimes in Syria shouldn’t necessarily include cruise missiles.
The U.S. congressman, R-Sewickley, was in Somerset on Friday, where he discussed conflict in the Middle East and a variety of other topics.
Like millions of others in America and across the world, Rothfus said he’s simply waiting for more information and details from President Barack Obama.
“U.S. military action I don’t think is appropriate at this time,” the first-term representative said. “You need to ask, What is the objective of military action, and you need to ask, What is the likely outcome of military action?
“We’re waiting to hear what further thoughts (Obama is) giving to the situation over there.”
Syria is in the midst of a civil war that has endured for more than 30 months and, according to United Nations estimates, has claimed the lives of more than 100,000. Obama and U.S. Defense Secretary John Kerry said Friday that they have evidence that the Syrian government of President Bashar Assad is responsible for using chemical weapons on civilians in spite of international warnings.
Rothfus, however, said America should tread lightly no matter the culprit. He pointed out that opposition to Assad has been linked to the Islamic terror group al-Qaida, which could be even more dangerous if put into power.
“We need to be fully engaged with allies,” he said. “It’s frustrating because this administration has not done a good job with foreign policy.
“We need to make clear that the use of chemical weapons is not acceptable — and that ultimately those people will be held accountable. (But) the president, I believe, should get approval from Congress before he does anything.”
According to Rothfus, the situation has some similarities to the war in Iraq. He noted that Saddam Hussein’s 1988 war crimes were not avenged for nearly two decades.
“The first thing to remember is that what happened in Syria is a war crime — using chemical weapons against civilians is a war crime,” he said. “Those responsible need to be brought to justice.
“(But) sometimes it takes time for justice. It took 18 years for Saddam.”
Rothfus said other topics on his radar for when Congress reconvenes are the repeal of the No Child Left Behind Act, implementing new privacy safeguards in the midst of the National Security Agency scandals and ensuring the completion of Route 219.
He will be at the Somerset Country Club again Tuesday to serve on a panel discussing the Affordable Care Act — which he opposes — in an event sponsored by the Somerset County Chamber of Commerce, Somerset Hospital and JARI.