Sep 9, 2013
06:48 AM
Connecticut Today

300 Attend Congressman Himes Syria Forum

300 Attend Congressman Himes Syria Forum

Bonnie Adler

More than 300 people packed the Darien library on a sunny Sunday for a public forum called by Fourth District Congressman Jim Himes to discuss whether or not the United States should strike Syria to penalize the Assad regime for its use of chemical weapons, as President Obama has requested. Congress is expected to vote on the issue this week.

U.S.  Senator Richard Blumenthal also attended the meeting, which was highly charged with speakers from all over Fairfield County and throughout Connecticut, both pro and con on the issue, who lined the walls of the Darien library auditorium waiting for their chance to speak.

Before the public took their comments and questions to the mikes,  Himes spoke briefly, saying he remains skeptical about what could happen after any potential US intervention. “Very few of us have any idea of what happens after a strike is complete,” Himes said. “Hezbollah could undertake attacks against Israel. There are some very bad characters in Syria now who have been circling the region in violent ways. If we succeed in President Obama’s goal of degrading the Assad regime, there will be some degree of chaos. We don’t know what happens after that.”

Senator Blumenthal said he remained undecided. “Before I can decide I want to know, what would be our objective in a strike? How does military action serve that objective?” he said.

He also asked, “How can we involve the world community as we did in Kosovo and Libya? And finally, how do we protect innocent civilians,  and avoid American entanglement?”

Both Himes and Blumenthal said their offices had received a large volume of mail and email with the public roughly two to one opposed to support for military action.

Himes said, “We know that a chemical weapons attack took place in a suburb of Damascus killing roughly 1,400 people. We know that this was a raid that was undertaken by Assad regime. The intelligence is strong, but not watertight, strong, but not water tight. No one here believes that this is a slam dunk.”

The clear majority of speakers who took the microphones were opposed to military action but there were supporters as well. The audience was occasionally raucous, applauding both pro and con statements, very much listening to all sides of the issue.

For the full story, visit the Minuteman New Center.

 

300 Attend Congressman Himes Syria Forum

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