Despite a hard sell from the president, 2nd District U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack remains skeptical that a military strike is the appropriate response to “incontrovertible evidence” that the Syrian government used chemical weapon against its own citizens.
“That’s something that the president, as you know, has been pushing pretty hard on,” the Iowa City Democrat said Friday. President Obama has asked Congress to authorize military action against Syria for President Assad’s use of chemical weapons against rebel forces seeking to topple his government.
“I have not been convinced up to this point that military force is the right way to go,” Loebsack said during an appearance on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press. “I think I’m going to continue … to really remain unconvinced.”
Iowa Press airs tonight on IPTV at 7:30 p.m. and noon Sunday, as well as on IPTV World at 8:30 a.m. Saturday. The show also is available at www.iptv.org beginning tonight.
Rather than follow the lead of Democratic President Obama, Loebsack said he is listening to his “war weary” constituents who overwhelmingly oppose military intervention. Loebsack, who serves on the House Armed Services Committee, said the military is “overstretched” and sequestration and budget cuts have diminished the nation’s capacity to launch another war.
Instead, Loebsack wants to give diplomacy a chance and give the Obama administration the opportunity to work with the Russians and international community to secure and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons.
Asked about his opposition to President George W. Bush’s unilateral approach to foreign policy back in 2007, Loebsack said he has been consistent in his concern about unilateral action by any president “whether it’s a Democratic president or a Republican president.”
However, he did not rule out future support for military action even if the U.S. acts alone.
“We have the right to act unilaterally if need be,” Loebsack said. “If there is a case where our national interests are truly at stake, if we’re attacked or whatever the case may be, then we should reserve the right.”