FIRST ON FOX – Congressman Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., is pushing his colleagues in the House for a vote on whether the U.S. should keep forces in Syria after reports that four U.S. service members were wounded in Syria last week, long after Biden said there were no U.S. troops in that country.
His resolution would mandate that President Biden remove U.S. armed forces from Syria no later than 15 days after the date of the resolution’s adoption.
“Since the invasion of Ukraine, we seem to have turned our attention away from some of America’s entanglement in Syria,” Gaetz told Fox News Digital. “And the purpose of my legislation is to force members of Congress to vote on record regarding whether they think we ought to continue Obama’s war in Syria. President Obama kicked off our involvement … and now we still find ourselves in the middle of a Syrian civil war with Russia and Turkey and Iran, all present in a very confined neighborhood.
“And it strikes me as a powder keg for very dangerous escalation,” he added. “And as we find ourselves here in 2023, we ought to ask ourselves, ‘Do we really want to continue the Obama-era policy of engaging in a Syrian civil war?’ I don’t think we should.”
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Gaetz, who sits on the House Armed Services Committee, filed the resolution following a Feb. 17 report from U.S. Central Command that four U.S. service members were wounded during a U.S. and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) helicopter raid in northeastern Syria that killed a senior ISIS leader.
Gaetz said he’s worried President Biden does not have a cognitive grasp on the Syrian conflict, citing an August 2021 interview with ABC News on U.S. involvement in the Syria conflict in which Biden stated, “We don’t have military in Syria to make sure that we’re going to be protected.”
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But news reports rebut that claim and say that, at the time of the interview, the U.S. had an estimated 900 troops in Syria for the purposes of helping SDF fight ISIS.
Gaetz says Congress has never authorized participation of U.S. armed forces in Syria, which Gaetz argues is required by the Constitution.
Gaetz’s resolution is pursuant to the War Powers Act of 1973, which was designed to limit the president’s ability to initiate or escalate military actions abroad. Under that Act, the House will be forced to vote within 18 days after Gaetz’s resolution was introduced.
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“I’ve heard reports as recently as today from people who’ve spent time in the Syria theater, indicating that Russian and U.S. personnel get into very close proximity to one another, close enough to take photos and wave,” Gaetz said of potential escalation in the region.
“And the risk of an accident or miscalculation or just misuse of authority could lead to direct kinetic conflict between the United States and Russia in Syria. And we ought to really think about whether or not that risk is worth whatever it is we’re fighting for in Syria.
“If Joe Biden wants to keep U.S. troops in the Syrian conflict, he should have to explain to us why, what the goal is and what winning looks like.”
Gaetz said he hopes his resolution will win the approval of both Republican and Democratic colleagues.
“One of my great disappointments in the 118th Congress is that people who I thought were anti-war Democrats seem to be consumed, have become cheerleaders for our armed conflict,” Gaetz said. “‘The Squad’ used to be anti-war. Now, they’re waving their pom poms for NATO. And, so, I’m sort of looking for where the anti-war coalition currently resides in the Congress.
“Is it more on the right, is it more on the left? Is it some amalgamation thereof? But this resolution will test who is truly adherent to what I believe is America First Foreign Policy and who continues to believe in Middle Eastern adventurism.”
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