Inaction is, for now, the best action.
That’s the stance Congressman Leonard Lance (R-7) is taking when it comes to U.S. military action in Syria.
Congress is now figuring out what to do after President Barack Obama called on the House Saturday to authorize military action against the Middle-Eastern country that has been entrenched in civil war for two years.
Information that Syria’s president, Bashar Assad, used chemical weapons against his own people, killing more than 1,000 Syrians, came forward last week, prompting Obama to draw a “red line” on the situation.
For Lance, however, this is not America’s battle to be involved in.
The Republican representative was a member of Obama’s classified briefing to Congress on Sunday, in addition to doing his own research on classified material that showed Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons.
“I do believe the Assad regime is responsible for chemical use against its own people,” Lance told Patch Tuesday. “But I’m very reluctant to authorize any (military) action.
“This is a civil war,” Lance said.
More than 100,000 Syrians have died as a result of the war over the past two years, and while the alleged use of chemical weapons is startling to Lance, it doesn’t surprise him, either.
“(Assad) is a horrible person,” he said. “He’s damaged his own country and killed his own people. But these atrocities are not new. The regime has killed 110,000 people with bullets and bombs. Again, this is a civil war.”
While House leaders and longtime members like John McCain and Lindsay Graham lobby their colleagues to approve military action in Syria, Lance says he’s not alone in his decision.
From discussions with constituents in the Seventh District to written and verbal communication, many of New Jersey’s residents who call Lance their representative are opposed to military action as well.
“There’s a variety of reasons, but the constituents I’ve spoken to are very opposed to action of any kind,” he said. “For some it’s war weariness, and for others it just doesn’t strike them as a situation the U.S. should be involved in.”
Lance believes the United States shouldn’t turn a blind eye, however.
“Without a doubt the international community needs to be involved,” he said. “Everyone should be concerned, but I believe some responsibility should be with the Arab League to step in.”
The House of Representatives reconvenes from recess Sept. 9.