WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) voted against providing training and arming Syrian rebels in opposition to the terrorist group Islamic State of Syria and the Levant (ISIL). Congressman Grijalva released the following statement:
“If we’ve learned one thing in the thirteen years since we rushed into wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, it is that wars cannot be rushed. Conflicts cannot be won through cut corners and half-measures. We must be deliberate, and have a clear depiction of our allies and enemies alike. We must have assurances and participation from other nations in the region. We must have a clearly defined – and achievable – mission. Most importantly, it must be clear in our minds how we will bring hostilities to an end.
“On every one of these thresholds, the arming of Syrian rebels to confront ISIL fails to reach the mark. While I am deeply troubled by the violence spreading in the region, I will not cast a vote that only further complicates and intensifies the fight.
“Syrian rebels are not loyal to our flag, and they will not do our bidding. They will pursue their own interests, and while allied today, they may be a sworn enemy tomorrow. We have seen time after tragic time that the weapons we provide will be aimed at our own troops if that comes to pass.
“A successful response to this crisis can only come with the significant involvement of other nations in the region. They have the most to lose if ISIL remains unchecked, and they have a vested interest in the social, political and economic implications of this conflict. If we proceed despite the tepid response from nations like Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, we will be taking sides in a civil war and welcoming the perception that we’ve adopted the conflict as our own.
“This is not a strategy for victory or a roadmap to peace. It is a prescription for more war, and I cannot in good conscience support it.”