Vermont’s congressional delegation says they agree with President Barack Obama’s decision to train and equip Syrian rebels to oppose the Islamic state terrorist groups.
In statements released after last night’s address, all three members said they support the president’s strategy.
Senator Patrick Leahy:
"The President, who has wisely rejected the deployment of U.S. ground troops, has acted prudently by working to build an international coalition that includes key Arab states and regional leaders. He has authorized air strikes against ISIS and further support for Syrian rebels opposing ISIS, many of whom have also been targeted by the cruel regime of Bashar al-Assad."
Senator Bernie Sanders:
"This struggle will not be won without the active participation of the people of Iraq and Syria. This cannot be a unilateral American action. As we develop a long-term strategy, we must not forget the painful lessons learned by the Bush-Cheney wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. U.S. ground troops should not be sent back into combat. I support the president’s airstrike campaign and help for the Syrian opposition.”
Congressman Peter Welch said he agreed with the president that American combat troops should not be deployed in the region, and he applauds his leadership in forcing Iraqi leaders to form a coalition government to respond to the threat posed by ISIS. But he expressed concerns about the strategy.
"I remain skeptical about the effectiveness of air strikes in Syria and am deeply concerned about the possible unintended consequence of propping up President Bashar al-Assad, a brutal dictator who rivals ISIS in the use of unspeakable tactics on his people. Congress now must fulfill its constitutional responsibility and vote on the President’s plan. I look forward to learning the details of the plan and I urge House leaders to ensure a swift and deliberative debate and an up-or-down vote. There is simply no reason why Congress should duck and dodge this solemn responsibility."