Manchin Won't Support Arming Syrian Rebels

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin today delivered remarks on the Senate floor outlining why he opposes funding, arming or training Syrian opposition forces. The Senator says he will vote against a continuing resolution to fund the U.S. Government if the measure contains that language.

The senator said this should be an Arab ground war and a U.S. air war. But he will not support arming or training the Syrian opposition force.

“I would ask my colleagues to consider America’s history of intervention in the Middle East.  It is not a successful one.   Interventions have failed in Lebanon, Somalia, Libya and Iraq, and Afghanistan is on the brink of failure. What have we learned from our actions?  Certainly not that going into Muslim countries to restore order or establish democracy is a winning strategy.”

Manchin notes that there needs to be a vote on a continuing resolution to keep the U.S. government operating, but resents that the resolution may also contain a measure to support Syrian rebels.

“I do not believe we should be forced to decide between funding our government and arming Syrian rebels. We should be ashamed for failing to pass appropriations bills to finance government operations for the fiscal year that starts two weeks from now.  And more ashamed that, for the sake of expediency, we are using a stop-gap continuing resolution as a vehicle for authorizing major military activity.  Asking us to make this choice is a disservice to the American people. But if that is a decision I am forced to make, it is one I am committed to making.”

The first vote in Congress on the President’s plan to fight Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria will be made in the House.