Nancy Pelosi to Congressional Democrats: Use of Force in Syria ‘Is In our National Interest’

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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif. speaks to reporters outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013.
National Journal
Matt Berman
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Matt Berman
Sept. 3, 2013, 10:17 a.m.

House Minor­ity Lead­er Nancy Pelosi, D-Cal­if., sent out a “dear col­league” let­ter to con­gres­sion­al Demo­crats on Tues­day af­ter­noon, call­ing on them to ap­prove ac­tion to re­spond to “the Syr­i­an gov­ern­ment’s un­speak­able use of chem­ic­al weapons.”

Pelosi, who also spoke on Syr­ia at the White House on Tues­day, writes that “it has been, and re­mains, a core pil­lar of our na­tion­al se­cur­ity … to pre­vent, lim­it, and halt the spread of nuc­le­ar, chem­ic­al, and bio­lo­gic­al weapons.” The full let­ter is be­low.

Dear Col­league,

The re­turn of Con­gress next week will bring a ser­i­ous and ne­ces­sary de­bate on a res­ol­u­tion au­thor­iz­ing the lim­ited and pro­por­tion­al use of force against the Syr­i­an re­gime.

At this crit­ic­al junc­ture, it is es­sen­tial that we make all Amer­ic­ans — the men and wo­men we rep­res­ent — fully aware of what the in­tel­li­gence clearly and un­equi­voc­ally demon­strates: that the As­sad re­gime was re­spons­ible for chem­ic­al weapons at­tacks against in­no­cent Syr­i­ans, res­ult­ing in the deaths of more than 1,400 people, in­clud­ing hun­dreds of chil­dren.

The evid­ence of these at­tacks is clear, con­vin­cing, and dev­ast­at­ing. The Amer­ic­an pub­lic must hear more of the in­tel­li­gence and in­form­a­tion avail­able to our na­tion’s lead­ers that led Pres­id­ent Obama and his Ad­min­is­tra­tion to call for such ac­tion.

It is in our na­tion­al in­terest to re­spond to the Syr­i­an gov­ern­ment’s un­speak­able use of chem­ic­al weapons. In­deed, it has been, and re­mains, a core pil­lar of our na­tion­al se­cur­ity — un­der Demo­crat­ic and Re­pub­lic­an ad­min­is­tra­tions — to pre­vent, lim­it, and halt the spread and use of nuc­le­ar, chem­ic­al, and bio­lo­gic­al weapons. This is a mat­ter of na­tion­al, re­gion­al, and glob­al se­cur­ity.

We ap­pre­ci­ate Pres­id­ent Obama’s de­cision to con­sult Con­gress, to keep Mem­bers in­formed of the in­tel­li­gence through the brief­ings and calls tak­ing place with our Caucus, and to sub­mit to Con­gress a res­ol­u­tion on the use of mil­it­ary force. The shape and con­tent of the fi­nal res­ol­u­tion will de­pend on what Mem­bers can sup­port.

We look for­ward to hear­ing any com­ments and ques­tions you may have as we care­fully dis­cuss how to pro­ceed and what steps to take. I ap­pre­ci­ate those who have already offered their thoughts, com­ments, and opin­ions, and I look for­ward to work­ing to­geth­er on this chal­lenge in the com­ing days. For many, ig­nor­ing Bashar Al-As­sad’s use of chem­ic­al weapons is a lux­ury hu­man­ity simply can­not af­ford.

Best re­gards,

NANCY PELOSI

Demo­crat­ic Lead­er

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