Gabbard joins Schatz, Hanabusa in opposition to Syria strike - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Gabbard joins Schatz, Hanabusa in opposition to Syria strike

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

A third member of Hawaii's congressional delegation has declared her opposition to a United States military strike in Syria.

Early Monday morning, Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said she would vote against a resolution authorizing military intervention against the Assad regime, joining with fellow representative Colleen Hanabusa and Sen. Brian Schatz in an issue that has divided much of the country since Syria was accused of using chemical weapons against its own people on August 21.  

On Monday, Gabbard said she was "sickened and outrage" by the use of chemical weapons in Syria but that the country was not a direct security threat to the United States, adding that she did not believe a military strike would prevent chemical weapons from being used again by the Syrian government.

"Military action will undermine our national defense, as even a limited strike could very easily escalate into a regional conflict, stretching thin a military that has been at war for more than 12 years," Rep. Gabbard said.

A spokesperson from Gabbard's office said that she made her decision after returning to the nation's capitol last week for the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Syria.

Gabbard says she is concerned that a strike in Syria could increase the chance chemical weapons could fall into the hands of more dangerous groups, including factions associated with al-Qaeda.

A historical precedent also played into her decision to vote against a strike, Gabbard said.

"We should learn from history; we cannot afford to be the world's policeman," said Rep. Gabbard. "The United States should not insert itself in the midst of this civil war, which is rooted in sectarian hatred and animosity between various warring religious groups."

Senator Mazie Hirono is the lone member of Hawaii's congressional delegation to remain publicly undecided on how she will vote on a potential military strike in Syria when Congress resumes today.

Hirono tweeted on Monday, "Authorizing the use of force is one of the most serious and consequential decisions a member of congress can make. Over the next 48 hours, I will be attending 3 classified briefings – one at the WH, one with DOD officials & one for all Senators. I will make my decision after carefully considering the facts presented in these meetings & input I've received from HI residents."

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