Chemical Weapons, President Clinton and Syria (June 14, 2013)

Last year, as a candidate for Congress, I advocated having the United States and its NATO allies establish a “No Fly Zone” over Syria. I believed such a policy to prevent the Syrian government from using its air power to brutally slaughter its own civilians was not only the humane thing to do, but would also help keep the Civil War from deteriorating into a regional conflict that dragged in other nations.

Two days ago, it was reported that former President Bill Clinton also strongly believes that more forceful action by the United States is required in Syria.

The Syrian Civil War is growing bloodier and more dangerous by the day. It threatens to engulf Israel, the entire Middle East region and even the United States. Already, the United Nations reports that over 93,000 men, women and children have been killed in this terrible conflict. The Syrian government has committed countless atrocities against its own people.

Yesterday, the White House confirmed that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons in this conflict. This is the “red line” that the President warned the Syrian Dictator against crossing. The White House now says it is increasing aid to rebel groups because of the use of these chemical weapons.

But more must be done. I urge the President to take even stronger action to address this crisis. It is more imperative than ever that we establish that “No Fly Zone” over Syria.

Our failure to enforce a “No Fly Zone” has not only meant that thousands more civilians have died but that the conflict has destabilized the region further. Additionally, our lack of action has strengthened the role of Iran, enabled Jihadist forces tied to al-Qaeda to become stronger, and increased the likelihood of Syria’s chemical weapons falling into the hands of terrorists.

The United States is increasingly threatened by what is occurring in Syria and by what could happen next unless we act. We need to act immediately to set up that “No-Fly Zone” over Western Syria, where the major airfields, bases and command centers are located. Such an action prevents the Syrian government from using warplanes against its own people and will limit the bloodshed.

The time is overdue for our government to act more forcefully in Syria. I hope you agree.