WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta on Tuesday said given the chance, he would vote against an attack on Syria.
Barletta, R-Hazleton, said based on information he has, both publicly disclosed information and classified, an attack on Syria would have two devastating results: the U.S. would be drawn into a war it could not get out of and a retaliative attack would happen here at home.
Barletta said he has attended several briefings and he was hoping to hear something to make him want to support President Obama’s plan. He said there is no vote scheduled in the U.S. House.
“I left the meetings with more questions and fears that a strike in Syria would cause retaliation right here at home,” Barletta said. “They tried to reassure us that there would be no boots on the ground, but there were no assurances that, upon retaliation by Syria, that we would not be drawn into war.”
The U.S. should not strike Syria alone without a coalition of allies, he said. He said calls to his offices have overwhelmingly opposed attacking Syria.
“This has by far been the most one-sided issue since been in Congress,” he said.
“I’m still not convinced that there is a clear cut plan after the attack and moving forward,” he said. “I don’t believe the U.S. should act as the world’s policeman and go into a war alone.”
Barletta said he is not certain the House will ever vote on the issue.
“If we do vote, I will vote no,” he said.
On Tuesday, Barletta used a hearing before the full House Homeland Security Committee to raise questions of border security and its relation to a potential terrorist attack in retaliation for any American military action in Syria.
“We know there’s a significant presence of Hezbollah in Latin America. We know our borders are open. How real is the possibility of Iran engaging in retaliation in the United States through its Hezbollah proxies in Latin America?” he said.
For Congress to approve a military action, he said, a compelling argument must be proven that national security interests are immediately at stake, or that a failure to attack would cause the U.S. harm in the near future.
“I find neither to be the case,” Barletta said. “I do not believe that President Obama has adequately made the case for me to vote to send our men and women into harm’s way.”