September 20, 2013
Congressman Robert Hurt (R, 5th District) put out the following response to President Obama's national address about the situation in Syria from Tuesday night:
"Tonight, I watched President Obama's address to our nation regarding the recent chemical attack and the ongoing civil war in Syria. I commend him for engaging the United States Congress and the American people on this vitally important subject.
"Like all Americans, I was horrified and saddened by the brutal chemical attack against innocent Syrian children and adults on August 21. These actions should be fully investigated and those responsible should be brought to justice. And we should use every diplomatic and economic sanction to prevent the future use of such weapons.
"With that in mind, I have repeatedly stated that before the United States should commit any of its precious military resources -- our lives and our treasure -- to an attack on the Syrian regime, the President must articulate a compelling American national security interest that requires military action.
"I believe, as a member of Congress charged with the constitutional responsibility to provide for the national defense, I must make every effort to support our President and his judgment as our Commander-in-Chief. However, my ultimate responsibility is to our Constitution and to the people I represent.
"I have listened to the President's arguments; I have listened to the arguments of the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense in their classified briefing to Congress; and I have listened to the reasoning of the good people of Virginia's Fifth District.
"Based upon all of the evidence presented to me and the arguments on both sides of the issue, I have concluded that, at this time, the President has not demonstrated that a compelling national security interest is at stake. Therefore, I will not be able to support the Authorization for Use of Military Force resolution should it come to a vote under these circumstances.”