Reps. McKeon, Blackburn Blast Obama for Undercutting U.S. Troops

Sunday, 08 Sep 2013 11:57 AM

By Amy Woods

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Republican Reps. Buck McKeon of California and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee both said Sunday it is immoral for President Barack Obama to push for action in Syria while unfunding the U.S. military.

McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said on CNN's "State of the Union" while the chemical-weapons attacks by Bashar Assad's regime constitute immoral behavior, so is sending members of the military into the region without proper funding.

"It's a tragedy all the way around," he said. "It's immoral to be using chemical weapons against, obviously, your own people. By the same token, I'm concerned about the morality of sending our own troops into harm's way without providing for the things they need. We're asking them to do more with less. I think there's moral responsibility we have to our troops."

Blackburn blamed Obama for underfunding the military while asking it to "do more with less."

"It is immoral to continue to ask our men and women in the military to go out without the equipment, the training, the readiness and the funds," she said.

Rep. Jim McGovern, a Massachusetts Democrat who avows friendship to President Barack Obama, said on CNN, "Sometimes friends can disagree."

McGovern said he opposes military action in Syria because it will make hostilities there worse.

"This is not a question about party loyalty," he said. "This is a question for all of us about what is right. This is a vote of conscience."

Launching missiles at Syria will do nothing "to get us closer to a political settlement, which the president says he wants," McGovern said.

"If I were the president, I would withdraw my request for the authorization, at this particular point," he said. "I don’t believe the support is there in Congress."

Obama is scheduled to address the nation about his plans for Syria on Sept. 10.

"I'm troubled … that there's this lack of imagination, the inability to think out of the box, about what are the alternatives here," McGovern said. "We're being told that there's two choices -- do nothing, or bomb Syria. Clearly, there have to be some other choices in between. We ought to explore them."

McKeon, who opposes a strike in Syria, has asked for a personal meeting with the president to discuss the sequestration and its impact on the military.

"I don’t look at it as a vote against the president," McKeon said. "I look at it as a vote for our men and women in uniform who keep being asked to do more with less."

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