WASHINGTON -- A major progressive political action committee on Wednesday urged Democratic members of Congress to vote against any resolution authorizing airstrikes on Syria.
The nearly one million-member Progressive Change Campaign Committee circulated a memo to Democrats in the House and Senate spelling out its objections to the use of military force against Syrian President Bashar Assad, adding that PCCC members will make "thousands of calls to Congress and will make participate in local events" in the coming days to pressure lawmakers to oppose military action.
President Barack Obama has asked Congress to authorize airstrikes on Syrian army targets in response to Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons to kill more than 1,400 people on Aug. 21.
"You now face a decision that involves life and death," PCCC co-founders Adam Green and Stephanie Taylor wrote in the memo. "This decision also involves billions of dollars. And it will send a signal to your constituents and the world about our nation’s morals and our ability to make strategic, goal-oriented decisions."
The memo also includes the results of a survey PCCC conducted of its members over the past three days, showing that 73 percent oppose military action in Syria, 80 percent think "narrow military bombings will not achieve U.S. objectives," and 81 percent think the mission "will lead to deep involvement" in Syria's two year-old civil war, despite Obama's assurance that the scope of U.S. involvement will be limited.
The memo makes PCCC the latest in a string of political groups on both sides of the aisle to oppose the White House's request for military authorization. Heritage Action, the political arm of the conservative Heritage Foundation, also announced its opposition to the strikes Wednesday, and spokesman Dan Holler said it is "clear there is not a vital U.S. interest at stake" in the conflict.
On Capitol Hill, Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel were scheduled to testify before the House Foreign Affairs Committee Wednesday on the need for limited military action in Syria -- their second congressional hearing on the matter in as many days.
Read the entire memo PCCC sent to congressional Democrats, below.
MEMO TO MEMBERS OF CONGRESS:
To: Democratic Senators and Representatives
From: Adam Green and Stephanie Taylor, PCCC Co-Founders
Date: September 4, 2013
Re: Survey results: Your base opposes Syria military action
The Progressive Change Campaign Committee was the first organization to praise President Obama’s decision to ask Congress to vote on military bombings in Syria – consistent with our Constitution.
You now face a decision that involves life and death. This decision also involves billions of dollars. And it will send a signal to your constituents and the world about our nation’s morals and our ability to make strategic, goal-oriented decisions. This historic moment must transcend political party.
In the last 72 hours, we surveyed PCCC members across the nation – in every state and congressional district. We've received over 57,000 responses so far, and a clear result: Your progressive base stands firmly against bombing Syria.
Our survey was extensive, asking about our goals in Syria, military action as a means to our goals, the significance of international coalitions, and more.
Here are some top numbers for you to be aware of:
By 73% to 18%, progressive respondents oppose U.S. military action in Syria.
Only 14% favor unilateral U.S. military action. Among those open to a coalition effort, 55% say the United Nations “must” approve the action to go forward.
81% believe that an initially-limited bombing campaign would lead to deeper involvement.
Opinions about our goal in Syria are split between a ceasefire, deposing Assad, deterring Assad, and several others. But 80% say, regardless of what our goal is, narrow bombings will not achieve it.
Progressives believe we should do something about Syria – only 11% say do nothing. 38% say we need a diplomatic strategy involving the UN and other nations. 19% say pursue war crime charges in The Hague. 19% favor humanitarian aid. Only 11% prefer air attacks as the solution.
Many people believe the intelligence delivered by President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry. Nonetheless, they strongly oppose military action, finding it harmful and unstrategic.