U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), Wednesday made the following video statement after the Senate Armed Services Committee concluded a classified briefing on the situation in Syria:
AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY:
"After today’s discussion with Secretary Hagel and General Dempsey, I still oppose the current plan for military intervention in Syria. Five months ago, I called for President Obama to articulate a plan in Syria and the Middle East and warned that the tide of war is not receding. I still have not heard this plan.
"Many members have expressed their concerns. We know this could be open ended; we know that an attack on Syria could have repercussions on Israel; but no one is talking about the decimation of our military. Today we can afford to launch 30 cruise missile into Syria, but we cannot ignore that such an attack on another country is an act of war.
"The state of our military today cannot afford another war. The President has decimated our military by cutting its budget by $487 billion and putting another $500 billion more on the chopping block with his sequestration. Gen. Dempsey agreed when he testified before Congress earlier this year that our military is being put on a path where the ‘force is so degraded and so unready’ that it could be ‘immoral to use the force.’
"As a superpower, we have a responsibility to follow through on what we say and ensure the security of our allies and partners. We must also ensure our military has the means to fulfill those responsibilities. Our President has failed to live up to those responsibilities.
"For years, the President has known about the grave national security threats in the Middle East – not only in Syria but also Iran. Since 2007, our intelligence has warned us that Iran will have a nuclear weapon and delivery system by 2015. All the while, he continues to reduce our ability to deter and defeat those threats. Now the President is proposing another contingency operation without even a hint of reversing course on his irresponsible defense cuts that will continue over the next nine years. He cannot have it both ways – gutting our military and still expecting it to protect our national security.
"We’ve been through this before. Let us not forget the failed efforts of former President Clinton in 1998. He sought to punish Saddam Hussein through a limited bombing campaign for violating UN sanctions over the development of weapons of mass destruction. After surviving four days of attacks, Saddam Hussein emerged unscathed and in fact stronger to continue his reign of brutality. Like Saddam Hussein, Assad is already portraying himself to the UN as a victim and to his people as a hero for standing up to the United States. We’ve tried cruise missile diplomacy before and it didn’t work. Instead, it increased the stature of a dictator in his defiance of the United States and the civilized world.
"I’ve said repeatedly the President must first explain our objectives and end state in Syria, present a long-term strategy for the region and the means to fund it, as well as clarify the risks associated with military intervention. Despite several years of bloodshed, we’re just now seeing a last minute rush by the White House to gain the support of Congress and the American people. Until the President comes forward with answers to these questions, no one should vote to authorize an act of war on Syria."