All of East Tennessee's representatives in the U.S. House and both of Tennessee's U.S. senators are members of the Republican Party. But the elected officials from the GOP serving in Congress are taking very different stances on potential military action in Syria.
Representatives Jimmy Duncan and Phil Roe oppose U.S. military involvement in Syria. Senator Bob Corker supports "surgical" strikes against the Assad Regime in Syria.
"I don't think there's any question in our administration's mind that chemical warfare has been used," said Corker. "With the use of chemical warfare I think we have to act. But I think you're going to see a surgical proportional strike against the Assad Regime for what they have done and I support that."
Corker supports military action against Syria with the caveat that he does not want to see U.S. troops involved in a protracted war on the ground. Representative Jimmy Duncan from Tennessee's 2nd District says he does not believe actions are likely to be limited to "surgical" short-term strikes.
"Every time you get involved in a 'limited war,' it very quickly has led to greater involvement," said Duncan. "It's a sad and tragic situation what's happening over there [in Syria], but I just
don't think we should get involved in another war in the Middle East. I
don't think we have the authority either under our Constitution or even
under international law to get involved in a civil war in Syria. And
unfortunately that is what is happening."
Duncan has served in the U.S. House since 1988. He supported Operation Desert Storm in the early 1990s and voted against going to war in Iraq in 2003.
"I am not a pacifist. If think if we have to go to war, let's go in and let's get it over with. But if we keep getting involved in situations like the one in Syria, we're going to end up in a state of permanent war," said Duncan. "There are limits to American power. We've got to recognize at some point that we have some limits."
Duncan stated he is not an "isolationist," but believes the United States should focus its financial power on resolving domestic issues rather than getting involved in a civil war in Syria. Duncan also cited the nation's trillions of dollars of debt as a factor in his decision.
"We have no vital interest, no legitimate vital interest in Syria.
That's not anti-Syria or against the Syrian people. There are some things that people in other
countries are going to have to solve for themselves. I just don't
want to see more young Americans killed in unnecessary wars in the
Middle East," said Duncan.
The office of Rep. Phil Roe from Tennessee's 1st District wrote 10News and stated, "Congressman Roe does not believe we need to intervene or get involved in a civil war."
Rep. Chuck Fleischmann from Tennessee's 3rd District tells 10News he is "still trying to get as much information as possible before making a final decision."
Senator Lamar Alexander's office told 10News he "is waiting to see what options the White House and the Department of Defense are considering before he makes a decision" on whether to support action in Syria.