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Rep. Scott DesJarlais says strike against Syria not justified

7:33 PM, Sep 3, 2013   |    comments
Rep. Scott DesJarlais / John A. Gillis/DNJ
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By Ledyard King / Tennessean Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON - Rep. Scott DesJarlais said Tuesday he does not support a military strike against Syria for apparently using chemical weapons against its own people.

The Jasper Republican, who attended a classified briefing in Washington on Sunday, said "the preponderance of the evidence" suggests chemical weapons were used and that the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad probably was responsible.

But DesJarlais doesn't believe that justifies the military strike President Barack Obama is recommending for several reasons: There are no allies ready to join the United States, the president's decision to wait for congressional approval suggests a lack of urgency, and his District 4 constituents oppose military action by a four-to-one margin, based on their contacts with his office.

"I do not see a direct threat to American interests or its allies or national security," DesJarlais said. "From what I've seen right now, I do not think intervention is what my district wants. I don't think it's justified at this point."

DesJarlais differs with Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, who supports a limited strike against Syria as called for by the president.

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