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WASHINGTON – U.S. Reps. Walter Jones, R-N.C., and Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., along with retired senior defense intelligence officer Col. Walter P. Lang and the Veterans for Peace today said Congress must be consulted before Barack Obama would send American troops into Syria.
At a press conference, Jones discussed his resolution to oppose American involvement in Syria without first consulting Congress.
His resolution, H.Con. Res. 107, expresses “the sense of Congress that the use of offensive military force by a president without prior and clear authorization of an Act of Congress constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under article II, section 4 of the Constitution.”
Jones was responding to the growing potential for direct American involvement in Syria to support the opposition to President Bashar al-Assad.
Just as he was one of the few Republicans opposed to the war in Iraq, Jones again expressed his opposition to a war that would be conducted without the approval of Congress.
It is Congress, after all, that the Constitution entrusts to make a decision regarding war, he said.
His resolution comes at a time when America’s military presence in the region is rising. Just this week, U.S.-supplied Patriot missiles arrived in Turkey to protect it from the Syrian conflict that is spilling across borders.
Jones made specific reference to how Obama took the U.S. to war in Libya and never consulted Congress. He said he does not want to see that policy repeated.
Rangel said the procedure should be for the president to come to Congress, which “means come to the American people.”
“That is not asking too much,” he said.
Regarding to the situation in Syria, Lang, the former deputy director for military attachés and operations, said there is “a great deal of exaggeration going on” in the media’s coverage and portrayal of the events.
“The outcome is not at all certain,” he said, putting emphasis on the fact that Assad is “not close to defeat.”
He also noted that “regime change has been the policy of this government from the start” and said the U.S. recognizes the Syrian Opposition Coalition as the legitimate government of Syria, but “there is nothing in international” law that declares the Syrian Opposition Coalition to be the legitimate government of Syria.
When asked by WND how U.S. relations with Russia, the main supporter of the Assad regime, would be affected by U.S. intervention, both Jones and Rangel admitted that they had no idea.
That’s why, they say, the U.S. should not intervene.
Lang added that by militarily intervening in Syria, the U.S. could create a “World War I-like scenario” in which the conflict rapidly expands from nation to nation in the region, until finally the world’s great powers are in armed conflict with one another.
Jeffery Steinberg of the Executive Intelligence Review added that the possibility of a U.S.-Russian clash over Syria is “very much on the minds of the Russian political and military elite.”
He added, “Syria is a slippery slope.”
Rangel said: “I am just as patriotic as the next guy … but when somebody says our national security is threatened, then it is time to call up our troops in a draft. That is how I look at it. And if you cannot find it in your heart to step forward and make some sacrifice then we should not be involved.”
Asked what should be done if Obama follows through with military intervention in Syria, Jones said charges of impeachment must be brought.
Others expressing support for Jones’ ideas were Reps. Justin Amash, R-Mich.; Mo Brooks R-Ala.; Michael Michaud, D-Maine; and Ron Paul, R-Texas.
Their letter states: “Outside of an actual or imminent attack on America, the only precursor to war can be the authorization of Congress. We call on you to abide by our Constitution, and rely on our country’s representatives to decide when war is necessary.”