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

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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