Meridian Star

New Today

September 10, 2013

Most in Miss. delegation oppose action in Syria

JACKSON, Miss. — Five of the six members of Mississippi's congressional delegation say they'll vote against the U.S. taking military action in Syria.

Republican Thad Cochran told The Associated Press on Monday that he's leaning against military action but still considering President Barack Obama's arguments for it.

"It's a hard vote to sell. Like to give him the benefit of the doubt," Cochran said of Obama.

Those who say they'll vote "no" are Sen. Roger Wicker and Reps. Alan Nunnelee, Gregg Harper and Steven Palazzo, all Republicans; and Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Democrat.

Wicker, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement Monday that Obama "has not made a clear case about his strategic or tactical goals" or exhausted diplomatic efforts to mobilize other countries to respond to Syria.

The U.S. accuses Assad's government of being behind an Aug. 21 attack using sarin gas in a Damascus suburb, saying 1,429 people were killed. Some other estimates of the deaths are lower.

"Any use of military force abroad must be rooted in a coherent strategy that is worthy of our men and women in uniform and has the support of the American people," Wicker said. "The president's plan has not met this threshold."

Thompson, the top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, said in a phone interview Monday that he's opposed because any U.S. military action in Syria "stretches our already overtaxed military even further."

"Right now, it appears that we're going alone and nobody else is putting in any assets or manpower other than saying, 'We are with you,'" Thompson told AP.

Nunnelee said that while the actions of Syrian President Bashar Assad Obama are "horrible," Obama has failed to show how military action would advance U.S. interests.

"There is little doubt they have used chemical weapons to suppress the rebellion," Nunnelee said Monday in a news release. "If President Obama had acted decisively earlier, we may have had better options. As it stands now, our choices are extremely limited because the strongest factions fighting against Assad's regime are al-Qaida affiliated Muslim extremists."

Harper said in a statement Monday: "After careful consideration of the classified documents, I will vote against authorization of a U.S. military strike on Syria." He did not elaborate.

Palazzo said in a Facebook post Thursday: "I've looked at the evidence, I've heard from the President and his advisers, and I've weighed the options of authorizing the use of military force. But more importantly, I've spoken with you, the voters of Mississippi. And you have overwhelmingly said that America needs to stay out of the Syrian conflict. I agree."


Associated Press writer Donna Cassata in Washington contributed to this report.


Text Only
New Today
Biz Marquee
New Today

New federal data show Mississippi received 179 unaccompanied children caught at the U.S. border this year. Gov. Phil Bryant wrote to President Barack Obama demanding the president pre-announce plans to send immigrants to Mississippi, saying Mississippi would block transports. Do you agree with Bryant?

     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide