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September 7, 2013

Tierney not convinced of need to attack Syria

SALEM — Congressman John Tierney has not said yet how he will vote on a proposed military strike in Syria, but his constituents, he said, have spoken loudly and clearly against it.

Calls to his office are running “overwhelmingly against going in,” Tierney said in an interview yesterday.

The Salem Democrat still hasn’t decided how to vote on President Obama’s call for limited strikes to punish the Syrian government for its alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians. But Tierney sounded doubtful that an attack by the United States alone would be a good idea, and he called for more information to be released by the president.

“Obviously, I do not think the administration has made its case,” Tierney said.

Tierney said by midweek his office had fielded 900 calls against a military strike, a handful who want more information and 20 or so who are in favor of U.S. attacks.

“I’m trying to keep an open mind as we go through this,” Tierney said.

By some reports, the attack with chemical weapons outside Damascus on Aug. 21 killed 1,400 people, including many women and children. The Obama Administration has said the regime of President Bashar Assad is to blame. The Syrian government blamed the rebels.

On Wednesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted in favor of a strike against Syria, and Tierney said several resolutions have been introduced in the House. Tierney expects a vote in the House sometime next week and said he plans to attend another briefing on Monday.

Tierney is the ranking member of the Subcommittee on National Security of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, but said it is unlikely this committee will debate Syria.

Tierney said he has attended briefings, but has not heard anything there that has not been shared already with the American public.

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