After over four hours of a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Wednesday, Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) made the clearest statement in the hearing.
“I cannot, I will not, I shall not support intervention in this conflict,” Yoho declared. “Our action would be one of attacking a sovereign nation, a nation that did not attack us, an act of war. And if we start war, we invite war, do we not? And I view this as unconstitutional, to attack a country that did not attack us.”
Shortly after Yoho’s comments, in his closing statement, Secretary of State John Kerry disputed both Yoho (and implicitly Gen. Martin Dempsey), in denying that attacking Syria is an act of war.
“I don’t believe we’re going to war,” Kerry declared. “I just don’t believe that. Going to war is mobilizing a force, asking people to join up, fighting a long campaign, committing your troops on the ground, fighting to win, and so forth. That’s not what we’re doing here.”
A second gross blunder, or worse, by Kerry, was when he said that he has been assured by Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov that there won’t be a war, that “Russia doesn’t intend to fight a war over Syria,” and both Lavrov and Putin “have indicated that Syria doesn’t rise to that level of potential conflict.”
This is exactly that which Lyndon LaRouche warned against, in his Aug. 29 7-point statement, when he stated: “Claims that the Administration has understandings with Russia and Iran to prevent any such escalation must be dismissed as unreliable, particularly when weighed against the threat of military action leading to world war, and the likelihood of the use of thermonuclear weapons.”
Benghazi and Other Questions Raised
Yoho was one of only two of the 36 members of the committee who participated in today’s hearing, who declared unequivocally that they would vote against the Syria use-of-force resolution (although others are on the record opposing intervention), the other being Tom Marino (R-Pa.). Marino challenged Kerry to state what is the imminent danger to the U.S. (which Kerry could not answer), and he pointedly asked Kerry why he opposed intervention in Iraq in 2002, but now he wants to intervene in Syria.
Marino said that regardless of the Administration’s attempt to minimize the intervention, American personnel will die. “This I cannot accept,” Marino said. “Soldiers coming home deformed and limbless and even in a body bag is not acceptable to me and, therefore, I cannot and will not vote for this intervention into Syria.”
A number of others —a minority within this committee, which is well-known for its obsession with Iran and Israel—are known to oppose intervention. Others raised serious questions that indicate that they may also vote against an attack. But, indicating the character of the senior members on this committee, it was almost two hours into the hearing before any serious questions were raised.
*Benghaziwas raised by two members. Jeff Duncan (R-SC), an opponent of intervention, said he cannot discuss Syria without talking about Benghazi. “The Administration has a serious credibility issue with the American people due to the unanswered questions surrounding the terrorist attack in Benghazi almost a year ago,” Duncan stated. “The American people deserve answers before we move forward talking about military involvement in Syria.” When Kerry erupted over the references to Benghazi and started to filibuster, Duncan held up a photo of Tyrone Woods, a Navy SEAL killed in Benghazi.
Ron DeSantis (R-Fla), another known opponent, pointed out to Kerry, that when he says that the use of gas breaches the norms of civilized behavior and that we need to enforce this norm, that the same reasoning applies to Benghazi and the killing of an Ambassador. Yet the U.S. hasn’t acted to avenge these killings.
*Al Qaedaand the terrorist nature of the opposition was raised by a number of members. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.) said “this is a very dangerous step we are taking,” that his biggest concern is that there is no good side, that the majority of the rebel forces are radical Islamists, and that the worst outcome would be for them to take over after Assad. Brian Higgins (D-NY), a known opponent, also said the opposition are Al Qaeda fighters and Islamic extremists, and he stated: “The American people are sick and tired of war. It’s time to nation-build in America and invest in the growth of the American economy.”
*Retaliation: Ted Poe (R-Tex.) raised the question of retaliation: What happens if they shoot back? Do we escalate? George Holding (R-NC) said “there’s always a chance that they can hit back and it can hurt.”
*Challenging the evidence: Alan Grayson (D-Fla), an opponent of intervention, brought up reports that the Administration has mis-characterized the intercepted Syrian military communications, which actually express surprise about the attack, and he challenged Hagel to declassify and release the transcripts.
*Constituent opposition: Jeff Duncan said he has gotten about 300 emails, and “not a one” wants to go to Syria. Ami Bera (D-Calif) said he and his colleagues are being “inundated” with calls and e-mails, and almost unanimously, people don’t want us to attack Syria, and he pleaded with Hagel to communicate what the Administration’s plan is.