Hawaii lawmakers react to Pres. Obama's Syria strategy

Published On: Dec 24 2013 12:01:44 AM HST   Updated On: Aug 31 2013 07:32:24 PM HST

Reaction to President Barack Obama's decision to seek congressional authorization before launching any military action on Syria has been met by approval by Hawaii's congressional delegation.

Where they stand on such action is varied.

The president said the United States should take military action against Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons, but that the country "will be better off" if Congress renders its own opinion on the matter.

That is the right decision, according to Hawaii's congressional delegation.

As to a position on whether to take action against Syria, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, said it was premature.

“What I’m looking forward to is a debate, a thorough examination of the facts before we come to a conclusion about whether or not it’s the right thing for the American people,” said Gabbard.

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, said while no one condones the use of chemical warfare, she would not support military action.

“So given that at this point in time and what I know, I would not support and have not changed my position that I would not support an attack,” she said.

Hanabusa said by the time Congress reconvenes on Sept. 9, she's hoping a diplomatic resolution can resolve the situation.

In a statement, Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, said, "We must send a clear message that the use of chemical weapons is abhorrent and will not be tolerated by the United States or the international community."

Schatz also said he would continue participating in national security briefings and "reviewing relevant intelligence in order to give this decision the serious consideration it deserves."

Over the next few days, classified briefings will be held with members of Congress who said they're not waiting to go back to session to be informed on the crisis.

Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, is traveling in Asia and was unable for comment.


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