Friday, September 19, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Getting some answers on Syria

By
From page A12 | September 27, 2013 |

By John Garamendi

When I read Debra DeAngelo’s column (Sept. 15) about my telephone town hall meeting on Syria, I was eager to respond. We didn’t get to her questions on the call for the same reason we didn’t get to more than 250 other questions: The public interest was especially robust.

Indeed, public interest across the nation helped mobilize Congress to pressure the president to seek congressional authorization before initiating military actions. Without this pressure, we might have rushed into yet another war in the Middle East.

I’m happy to answer her questions now. They are, in fact, very similar to questions I submitted “for the record” for the House Armed Services Committee hearing with Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on Sept. 10.

Grouping her first and second questions: How much would this Syrian war cost and how would we pay for it? I submitted:

What do we expect the military actions being proposed by the administration will cost? Please suggest a high-end and a low-end estimate.

We don’t know what it would cost. Military experts say a Syrian bombing campaign would cost “in the billions,” but if it drags on, then what? To pay for it, we’d borrow at the expense of domestic priorities, like we did for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which helped drive us from the budget surpluses of the late 1990s to the deficits of today.

Her third question: What’s the plan? I asked:

What are the specific goals of a U.S. military strike against Syria? How will we assess if we have met these objectives?

Proposed military strikes are intended to “deter” Bashar Assad from using chemical weapons and to “degrade” his capacity to do so. However, a U.S. attack could instead potentially provoke the regime to escalate its indiscriminate killing of innocent civilians.

Her fourth question: Would a U.S. strike prevent Assad from using chemical weapons? As I phrased it:

I understand an objective of military strikes is to “degrade” but not eliminate the Syrian regime’s capabilities to deploy chemical weapons. Would Assad retain some capacity to use chemical weapons after a U.S. bombing campaign?

If we take the military route, Assad gets to keep his chemical weapons, and he could use them, which is why I strongly support our diplomatic efforts to work with Russia and other members of the international community to secure and destroy those weapons.

Her fifth question: Could a U.S. strike allow religious extremists or other dangerous groups to access chemical weapons? Or as I put it:

If strikes fragment or destabilize the regime, could this expand and diversify the range of actors with access to and control over the weapons?

The threat of “loose chems” ranks among the gravest potential unintended consequences of a U.S. attack. If the Assad regime crumbles and al-Qaida-affiliated elements of Syria’s rebel forces access the chemical arsenal, we have exponentially increased the danger to the U.S. and our allies.

Her sixth question regarding the regime’s placement of chemical weapons in anticipation of a U.S. attack is a great one, and not one I submitted “for the record.” Fortunately, we are now collaborating with other countries to ensure that the Syrian regime discloses the locations of its chemical arsenal.

Her seventh question: Rather than bombing, shouldn’t we help the millions of displaced Syrians walking for miles to reach undersupplied refugee camps? The U.S. ambassador to Jordan recently explained to me that their government is fronting costs for desperately needed food and medical supplies for Syrians pouring over their borders, hoping other countries will help offset these expenses. As I asked:

How might the billions for military strikes instead be used to help alleviate the humanitarian disaster that has resulted from millions of Syrians being driven from their homes by this ongoing civil war?

As Debra notes in her eighth question, a U.S. attack on Syria could lead to disastrous consequences, and there are better ways than bombing to prevent the slaughter of innocent civilians and help bring an end to this tragic ongoing conflict.

I agree, and that is why I opposed the administration’s bombing campaign and strongly support the negotiated plan with Russia to secure and destroy the chemical weapons.

I welcome tough questions, and I ask tough questions. What I don’t welcome is a rush into wars of choice that we cannot afford.

— Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, represents the 3rd Congressional District, which includes parts of Yolo County.

Comments

comments

Special to The Enterprise

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    UC to create $250 million venture capital fund

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A1

     
    School district may redevelop downtown site

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1

    Grant means new push for moving tracks out of town

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Some say council needs to reconsider MRAP

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

    France strikes Islamic State group’s depot in Iraq

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Man faces arson charge in huge California wildfire

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    DUI suspected in crash

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Master Gardeners share their wisdom at free workshops

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

     
    Scots vote to stay in UK

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Project Linus seeks donations

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Rabid bat found at Holmes Junior High

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Students invited to apply for Blue & White grants

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Halloween costume sale benefits preschool

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Telling tales, on ‘Davisville’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Volunteers sought to make veggie bags

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Storyteller will draw on music, dance

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Woodland Healthcare offering flu shots

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Putah Creek Bike Path to close temporarily

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Little Free Libraries open at Montgomery

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A3

     
    DHS Classes of 1954 and 1955 will hold 60th reunion

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Nonprofits can get DCN’s help

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Register to vote by Oct. 20

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Free workout class set at library

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Explorit: Lots of ways to be a volunteer

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Sierra Club remembers longtime walker

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Reception benefits endangered gorillas

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    Davis maps available at Chamber office

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Downtown history tour planned in October

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

    Davis hosts its own climate change rally

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    Sutter Farmers Market offers local goods

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Wolk applauds approval of stronger rules for olive oil

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    Qigong classes available for heart health

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    .

    Forum

    Sick of being the bad guy

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Save the ‘pine cone place’

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Affirm our community values

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Project has safety risks

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Learn more about Paso Fino

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Educate homeless with dogs

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

    Cheers and Jeers: Not the end of the rainbow

    By Our View | From Page: A6

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

    Return to previous plan

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Sports

    Aggies’ new energy could be scary for Big West

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    No rest for the weary: Aggie TE Martindale busy on and off the field

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Devils hope the light bulb turns on at Edison

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    River Cats and Giants sign two-year deal

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Blue Devil volleyballers hold off Herd

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Mustangs are no match for DHS boys in water polo

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

    Take Zona and Bama this week

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: B2

     
    A’s slide continues as Rangers sweep

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    .

    Features

    Name Droppers: Awards keep coming for UC Davis retiree

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Business

    Redesigned 2015 Escalade remains breed all its own

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Carol L. Walsh

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, September 19, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Real Estate Review

    Featured Listing

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER1

    Professional Services Directory

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER2

    Taylor Morrison

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER3

    Malek Baroody

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Norcal Land

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER5

    Robin Garland

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER6

    Dana Hawkins

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

    Karen Waggoner

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

    Joe Kaplan

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

    Lynne Wegner

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

    Martha Bernauer

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

    Remax

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

    Melrina A Maggiora

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER10

    Wells Fargo Home Mortgage

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

    Julie Leonard

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

    Coldwell Banker

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER12

    Kim Eichorn

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

    Lyon Real Estate

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

    Jamie Madison & Associates

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Marcelo Campos

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Julie Partain

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Kim Merrel Lamb

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

    Bob Bockwinkel

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

    Juan Ramirez

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

    Chris Snow

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

    James Hanna

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

    Susan von Geldern

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

    Raul Zamora

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

    Travis Credit Union

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER20

    Jamie Madison

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

    Karen Waggoner

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

    Tracy Harris

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER22

    Lisa Haass

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER22

    First Street Real Estate

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER24