09.16.14

Congresswoman Lee Speaks on House Floor against another War in the Middle East

Washington, DC – Congresswoman Barbara Lee recently spoke on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives against arming Syrian rebel groups.

“I am totally disappointed that the debate on something that could have such broad implications on the United States’ national security and the region is being included as an amendment to the Continuing Resolution (CR).

I am reminded of the failure to have a thorough and robust debate in the wake of 9/11 and the resulting overly broad authorization which I could not vote for because it was a blank check for perpetual war. It is still on the books and is being used to authorize the strikes taking place now. This resolution should be repealed.

…It is more complex than just an up-or-down vote on arming and training members of the Free Syrian Army. The consequences of this vote, whether it's written in the amendment or not, will be a further expansion of a war currently taking place and our further involvement in a sectarian war.

No one in this body believes that we should stand by while ISIS wreaks havoc across the region. We must address ISIS.

The president and his national security experts have stated, repeatedly, that there is no military solution. Yet, here we are today, once again, only discussing more arms and more air strikes.

There are too many unanswered questions for me to support this amendment.

How will we ensure that the United States weapons we are providing to Syrian rebels will not get into the wrong hands, as they did with the rebels we supported in Libya?

How will we ensure that we do not stand here years from now debating on how to stop another ISIS?

What is missing from this debate is the political, economic, diplomatic and regionally-led solutions that will ultimately be the tools for security in the region and for any potential future threats to the United States.

We should not act in haste and we must heed the lessons of the past.”

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Congresswoman Lee is a member of the Appropriations and Budget Committees, the Steering and Policy Committee, is a Senior Democratic Whip, former chair of both the Congressional Black Caucus and Progressive Caucus. She serves as chair of the newly formed Whip’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity.