Weatherford Democrat

September 8, 2013

Strike Syria or stay out? Local reactions mixed

U.S. Reps. Williams, Granger say they oppose U.S. military action


Weatherford Democrat

— By BRIAN SMITH

While President Obama appears to have a tough week ahead trying to convince Congress to approve a military strike against Syria, Parker County residents are split on the issue.

Dennie Clifton, of Reno, comes from a military family with her grandson Tyler, serving in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan. She doesn’t like the idea of going into Syria.

“I realize the military is there to protect but I really don’t like the idea of always playing policeman to the world,” Clifton said. “Let them solve their own problems.”

Joe Stemminger, of Springtown, had the opposite mind set, saying the U.S. needs to take some sort of action.

“We’re thought of as the defenders of the world, and, like it or not, we are,” Stemminger said. “I’d rather nip this in the bud than see it get worse. A stand needs to be made.”

Stemminger’s “partner in crime” Dale Rodgers felt differently, saying officials need to mind their own business.

“If it had been an attack on us, then yes, we need to do it, but to go over there and throw our boys into the line of fire again, I say, ‘No way,’” Rodgers said. “For once, we need to stay out of something over there.”

Mike Bologna, a Gulf War veteran from Azle, said he would support U.S. military action against the Syrian government.

“Defending the Middle East is something that does have America and the world’s interests at heart,” Bologna said. “I just don’t like the idea of others dictating my interests.”

Two area congressional representatives, Republicans Roger Williams (TX-25) and Kay Granger (TX-12), which includes Parker County, say at this time they are not in support of U.S. involvement in Syria, despite reports of the atrocities committed by the government against its people.

“It’s reprehensible for any nation to use chemical weapons, especially on its own people,” said Williams. “For weeks now, the president and his administration have broadcast to the world what a U.S. response to these horrific acts might entail. Unfortunately, this has given the Assad regime ample time to protect any military targets. After attending a classified briefing by the White House ... I am not convinced that attacking Syria and putting our soldiers at risk is in the best interest of our national security. While I support the president seeking Congressional approval, at this time I cannot and will not support U.S. military intervention in Syria.”

Granger, from Fort Worth, reportedly issued a statement Friday and was quoted as saying, “From everything I have learned, intervening in Syria’s civil war is not in the best interest of the United States. Our homeland is not under attack. The administration has not made the case to Congress or the American people that a military strike would be in our national security interest or the national security interest of our allies in the Middle East.”

Obama’s administration came under pressure Saturday from European officials to delay possible action until U.N. inspectors report their findings about an Aug. 21 chemical attack that Obama blames on the Assad government.

Obama called a bipartisan group of lawmakers on Friday and was expected to make more calls this weekend.

The days ahead represent one of the most intense periods of congressional outreach for Obama, who’s not known for investing heavily in consultations with Capitol Hill.

A House vote is likely the week of Sept. 16.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.