McGovern Statement on Announcement of U.S. Forces to Syria
Congressman Jim McGovern, a senior House Democrat and leading voice in the push for stronger Congressional oversight of U.S. military engagement abroad, released the following statement today:
“Today’s announcement by the White House is just the latest in a series of alarming signs that the U.S. war against ISIS will continue to accelerate in the absence of Congressional action. The deployment of U.S. special operations forces to Northern Syria is especially concerning because it comes just days after the Pentagon announced that they are considering sending combat forces into Iraq as well.
“It has now been 15 months since President Obama first announced the beginning of U.S. military engagement with ISIS. We were told that combat troops would not be returning to fight in Iraq. Instead, in this conflict, we have seen an increase in U.S. troop levels to more than 3,500 servicemembers and spent more than $4.75 billion of taxpayer dollars on this war.
“While it is clear that ISIS poses a significant threat to our national security and must be defeated, it is just as clear that Congress must take responsibility for this war by voting on an Authorization for the Use of Military Force. Congress cannot continue to shirk one of our most fundamental constitutional duties by funding this war without voting on an AUMF that provides a clear path forward. Sending troops into harm’s way is a decision that must be made by the American people through their elected representatives in Congress.
“We need to ensure that our strategy embraces a more balanced and constructive approach that would significantly increase civilian security. A critical first step would be to call for a moratorium on all bombing by all parties, which would help to significantly stem the internal displacement of entire populations. This would also allow for the repair of some of the damage to Syrian homes and communities and ensure that international humanitarian aid would be able to reach populations under siege.
“Our brave men and women in uniform and their families deserve a Congress with the courage to stand with them. By taking responsibility for this war and voting on a bill that embraces this constructive approach with a clear exit strategy, Congress can move us closer to achieving our strategic goals in the region while also providing much-needed relief to the Syrian people who have suffered throughout the conflict.
“Americans need to know that their elected leaders, both in the White House and in Congress, have a clear plan to bring this conflict to a peaceful end before it becomes another endless war. This starts with Congress doing its job and voting on an AUMF.”
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