Rep. McDermott speaks at town hall about Syria

by: Henry Rosoff Updated:

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Congressman Jim McDermott (D) Seattle said he is leaning against air strikes in Syria.

He made that position clear during a town hall meeting at the University Temple United Methodist Church Sunday night.  About a thousand people showed up to express their opinions to the lawmaker.

Most supported McDermott’s stance.  However, there were several who voiced support for air strikes because Bashar al-Assad is accused of using chemical weapons against his own people.

“We can choose not to go in, but we have to bear the moral consequences of allowing women and children to die because we don't want to,” one speaker told the congressman.

Many more felt any military action in Syria would turn into an “open ended war.”  McDermott himself repeatedly evoked the war in Iraq in his remarks.

“You may remember in Iraq we were going to be in and out in 60 days,” the representative said.  “Low and behold 10 years later we were still enmeshed.”

McDermott and other anti-air strike members of the crowd suggested that the United States should wait until United Nations inspectors have filed a report before taking any action.

McDermott was also skeptical of the language in a military action resolution already passed out of a Senate committee.

“A 60 day air strike, and then an additional 30 days, is a pretty broad mandate for the president, and it's one that I'm not very comfortable with,” he said.

McDermott said he did not expect to vote on any bill related to a Syrian air strike until later this month.  He also suggested that he may not have to vote at all because the bill may not pass the Senate.