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September 5, 2013

Congressman, challengers weighing the options on Syria


“One of the lessons we learned from Iraq is we have to have the right intelligence,” he said, adding that his experience in Iraq would cause him to be careful as a congressman when weighing the use of force.

“I don’t think there is any question we don’t want to get involved in another ground war in the Middle East, especially a civil war in Syria,” Moulton said. While the world should condemn use of chemical weapons, he suggested that a military strike might not be the only option. There could be other military or diplomatic options, but he could not say exactly what.

Another Democratic challenger in the 6th District, attorney Marisa DeFranco of Middleton, said that if she were in Congress, she would vote against a military strike, considering what little information the public has been given. With more information, she might be persuaded to support air strikes, she said.

“I represent people who have escaped murderous dictators,” said DeFranco, who works as an immigration lawyer but has not worked with recent Syrian immigrants.

“I very, very much want to help the Syrian people. It’s not a question of want,” she said in an interview.

DeFranco said the lack of a long-term strategy to end the conflict is one reason she does not support a military strike at this time. She said there does not seem to be a plan if the strikes spark a regional war or have other unintended consequences.

She also takes issue with the military action being marketed with euphemisms such as “precision striking” that sanitize the action.

“The word is ‘bombing’; that is what it physically is,” DeFranco said. The other problem, she said, is who would replace the Assad regime, given reports that al-Qaida fighters are part of the rebel movement.

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