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Rep. Jared Polis To President Obama: 'Do Not Attack Syria'

09/09/2013 08:00 am ET | Updated Nov 10, 2013
AP

Rep. Jared Polis, D-Boulder, announced Monday that he opposes U.S. military action against Syria.

President Barack Obama is requesting that Congress authorize military strikes against Syria in response to its use of chemical weapons.

Polis, in a written op/ed submitted to the Daily Camera that will be published in print on Wednesday, wrote that he was naturally skeptical of another war, but wanted to read classified briefings before making a final decision.

After reviewing those materials, he wrote, his opinion didn't change.

"The president has chosen to ask for the advice and counsel of Congress, and with my voice and my vote, I respond: do not attack Syria," Polis wrote.

He concluded that the use of chemical weapons in Syria deserves a response, but the reasons not to attack Syria and the risks of escalation outweigh the benefits from the proposed military action.

An attack on Syria doesn't make the American people safer, Polis wrote, and the possible death of innocent Syrian civilians as collateral damage from missile strikes may increase local and regional anti-Western sentiment -- and risks increasing the ranks of terrorists.

The lack of a United Nations mandate in support of military action also undermines the United States' legitimacy to act, he wrote. He also cautioned that an American attack could inadvertently strengthen extremists, while undermining support for more moderate forces.

"The potential use of force should not be removed from the table, but it should be the last option considered after others are exhausted and a stronger international commitment exists," Polis wrote. ___

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