SAN DIEGO – At a news conference today U.S. Rep. Juan Vargas (CA- 51), who was headed on a red-eye flight tonight back to Washington, D.C. for a classified White House briefing Sunday on the Syria situation, said ”If in fact this regime has gassed its own children — we have to act.”
But Vargas added at the late afternoon conference held in front of the Hall of Justice in downtown San Diego that, ”We have to make sure that’s what they’ve done.”
Asked about the mood of Congress and how difficult a proposition it may be for President Barack Obama to sell U.S. military action against Syria, Vargas answered there was ”a lot of skepticism” on the part of many who believe the last time we went to war ”on information that was flawed and questionable.”
”There are many who are still skeptical that the information that is being provided is information that can be relied on,” Vargas said noting the Obama Administration ”is telling us they have the facts.”
Vargas was responding to comments made earlier today by President Obama who said he’d decided on military intervention in Syria, but that he’d also decided it was necessary to seek Congressional approval before any action was taken.
Asked if he felt Obama would be willing to override Congressional disapproval of U.S. military involvement in Syria, or lack of support from any of our other allies, Vargas said, ”We have to be willing to act by ourselves. This is an issue that transcends one nation. We have to act on an issue like this. We can’t let it go.”
Vargas said he didn’t believe any U.S. military response would be boots on the ground, but rather an air strike with ship-borne Tomahawk and Cruise missiles.
”We don’t want to get tangled up in any ancient hatreds, that’s what we’re trying to avoid,” Vargas said when asked how involved the United States was willing to get in the foreign conflict.
Syria’s opposition has accused government forces of having gassed an estimated 500 to 1,400 men, women and children in rebel-held Damascus suburbs by firing rockets that released deadly gas fumes as they slept. The alleged attack prompted an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council in New York, as well as discussion and debate of U.S. military intervention.