Bill Young not convinced about U.S. need to attack Syria
Rep. C.W. Bill Young says he's unconvinced about the need to take military action against Syria, despite Obama administration officials insisting in a call Thursday night with ranking members of Congress that they have proof chemical weapons were used.
"They did not give any timetable" or specifics on what action could be taken, Young said.
Young, the Pinellas County Republican who chairs the powerful defense appropriations subcommittee, said he quickly asked when the administration would seek funding, either through a supplemental budget request or by "reprogramming" existing funds.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel "turned that off real fast," Young said. "He said. 'We're not at that point yet.' "
"If there's no funding request, there's no real plan to do anything," said Young. "It tells me I'm not sure what they're going to do."
Young said despite the detailed evidence offered on the use of chemical weapons -- there were references on the call to substances found inside projectiles used against the Syrian people -- he is not sold on the need for military action.
"I do not want the U.S. to be involved in another war like we have been in that region," Young said in a telephone interview tonight. "It's not only very expensive but it could lead to putting our soldiers in Syria. We have been tied up in Iraq. Afghanistan is a real sloppy failure and we're hurting kids that don't need to be hurt."
Young, who supported the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, made news last year when he said it was time for the U.S. to get out of Afghanistan.
He said Secretary of State John Kerry spoke tonight of building international support -- an effort that saw a major setback today with British lawmakers rejecting a proposal to take military action.
"Kerry represented that they were getting an awful lot of moral support without definite commitments," Young said.
Young joined in criticism that the president helped create the problem.
"Barack Obama stood before the American people and drew a red line across a chart," he said, referring to the president's self-imposed threshold of taking action if chemical weapons were used. "The Syrians reached that red line twice and Obama did nothing, which in my opinion shows considerable weakness. He's got a lot of answering to do."