Idaho's Labrador: 'We are not the police force of the world'

September 17, 2013 

Idaho GOP Congressman Raul Labrador uses his weekly electronic newsletter to reaffirm his opposition to use of force in Syria, recounting an exchange with a veteran whose son served in Afghanistan and is "no longer the same."

In an 800-word essay, Labrador says the woman, whose husband also is a veteran, begged him to "keep us out of Syria."

Labrador recounts meeting the woman at the Boise Philharmonic's "Americana" concert Aug. 30 in Eagle and himself being moved by a piece by composer John Williams from the World War II film, "Saving Private Ryan."

"As I was listening to the music, I could not stop thinking about the many men and women who had given their lives in defense of our country and ached for them and their families," Labrador writes. "I also thought about those who could lose their lives if we got embroiled in a conflict in Syria.

"As I was leaving the concert, a woman approached me. She sheepishly asked if she could just take a few minutes of my time. I, of course, agreed to talk to her. She looked me in the eye and said emphatically, 'Congressman, please promise me that you are going to do everything you can to keep us out of Syria. I am the mother of a young soldier who returned from Afghanistan and he is no longer the same. My husband served in the military and I am a veteran. We have no business in Syria; we don't need to get involved in their sectarian battles. I beg you, keep us out of Syria.' In the days that followed, I could not get her voice out of my head. Because of families like hers, all members of Congress have a moral responsibility to deliberate and ponder about our current situation in Syria."

Labrador also writes:

"I am opposed to the use of military force against Syria at this time. I gave the Administration a chance to make their case, but they couldn’t make it. Nothing they said changed the fact that we are not the police force of the world, we don’t have a compelling national interest in Syria, and it’s doubtful that an alternative government in Syria will be better than the current one. After our experience in Iraq, I couldn’t think of anything worse than putting our brave service members in harm’s way to police a civil war in a place where we have no vital interests. Better options are available, and we should use them."

Read the rest of Dan Popkey's blog post here.

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