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Indiana Congressmen Taking Sides On Syria

Rep. Todd Young, R-9th, says he is leaning toward voting against a military strike on Syria, but Rep. Luke Messer, R-6th, says he plans to vote "yes."

syria protestor in front of White House

Photo: V Pickering (flickr)

President Barack Obama has asked Congress to approve a military strike in Syria.

Indiana’s Congressional delegation remains skeptical of military involvement in Syria as lawmakers prepare to return to Washington D.C. and possibly vote on the issue.

President Barack Obama plans to seek Congressional approval before ordering any military strike in response to the Assad regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons.

Rep. Todd Young, R-9th, says he will likely vote “no” on a strike, but could change his mind as he gathers more information.

“Most of my colleagues who have been briefed into the classified briefing already have not expressed that skepticism about the Assad regime and its responsibility for the chemical attacks,” he says.

Young spent Wednesday in Scottsburg meeting with constituents, many of whom say the are opposed to military action.

“We’re gonna drop bombs,” says Salem resident John Quatroke. “Everybody thinks these smart bombs don’t inflict any casualties?”

Other Indiana representatives have expressed similar concerns. Reps. Larry Buschon, R-8th, and Todd Rokita, R-4th, have said they are skeptical about any intervention in Syria.

But Congressman Luke Messer, R-6th, says if he had to vote today on using force in Syria, he would vote yes.

Messer is a member of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, which heard testimony Wednesday about Syria from Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.

Messer says he believes a vote to use force is a vote of conscience, and says he thinks inaction in Syria will embolden those he called “evil dictators.”

“We’re all aghast at the atrocities that occurred in Syria. America doesn’t like to watch bullies stand by and do evil things to their people,” he says. “But the American people inherently understand there are high risks to actions here too.”

Messer is the only Indiana Congressman to sit on the Foreign Affairs Committee.

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