Paul Ryan Reverses Position On ‘Red Line,’ Declares Opposition To Military Intervention In Syria
U.S. Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) is the latest congressman to voice his opposition to President Barack Obama’s plan on Syria, which could involve military strikes.
In a statement issued Wednesday, Ryan said “I believe the president’s proposed military strike in Syria cannot achieve its stated objectives. In fact, I fear it will make things worse.”
The statement comes the morning after President Obama addressed the nation to make his case for military intervention in Syria if a diplomatic solution to the crisis cannot be reached.
The conflict in Syria has dominated the news since the White House condemned Syrian president Bashar al-Assad for authorizing the use of chemical weapons against his own people, crossing the “red line” President Obama had described in August 2012 as “seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.”
A few days after the president established his “red line,” Paul Ryan — then the running mate of Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney — stated that he and the GOP were in agreement with Obama.
“I think we have to also be ready to take whatever action is necessary to ensure that we do not have any kind of weapon of mass destruction falling into the hands of terrorists, whether that requires troops, or whether that requires other actions by our friends and allies,” Ryan affirmed just days after Obama issued his “red line” warning, according to NBC.
Now the Republican congressman, who is also chairman of the House Budget Committee, believes that the “best punishment” for Assad’s “war crimes is for moderate elements of the opposition to prevail.”
His newfound opposition to the possible military strikes comes after weeks of remaining relatively mum on the issue, even as the president spent weeks referencing the red line in his argument for military intervention, and House leaders Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) expressed their support for the plan.
Ryan explains that he has taken his position because he finds the president’s plan “ill-conceived” and “half-hearted,” and claims it will make “America look weak, when we need to be strong.”
The Republican congressman also criticized the president’s request that Congress delay a vote on granting him authorization for military intervention -– a delay that stems from a Russian-led plan that could result in Assad placing all chemical weapons under international control. He said that the president “lacks a clear strategy” and is “following Russia’s lead.”
In stark disagreement with the president, Ryan concluded the plan “will merely curse the past, when we need to protect the future.”
Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr.com