Sen. Jim Inhofe, of Tulsa, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, released the following statement Saturday evening regarding President Barack Obama’s statement that he would allow Congress to debate the prospect of U.S. military action in Syria:
“After listening to President Obama’s address to the American people today, I remain opposed to military action in Syria because he has yet to present a strategy for Syria and the Middle East, has given no clear end state for a military operation, and has presented no plan for funding it.
“As a superpower we have a responsibility to follow through on our commitments and ensure the security of our allies and partners – as the President pointed out – but at the same time our President has decimated our military which is tasked to fulfill those responsibilities
“As a result of the President’s historic cuts to our defense budget, our military forces are at decreased readiness levels – so much so that General Dempsey said we are putting the military on a path where the ‘force is so degraded and so unready’ that it would be ‘immoral to use the force.’
“Conducting operations without a strategy has been this administration’s trademark, resulting in a failed foreign policy most visible in the Middle East. As a result, our reputation, influence, and capability in the region are at an all-time low: our friends don’t trust us and our enemies don’t fear us.
“Launching a few missiles without a strategy or an end state will only degrade our reputation further or drag us into an open-ended conflict, or both. Furthermore, Iran is “all-in” in the conflict in Syria and whatever we do there will reverberate profoundly in the region and beyond – either positively or negatively.
“I would consider strong decisive action but only if it supports a comprehensive strategy for Syria and the Middle East, if it is not open-ended, and if the President funds such a contingency operation after proper consultation with Congress. I look forward to the Syria debate before Congress, and I hope my colleagues will join me in holding our Commander-in-chief accountable to presenting America with long-term strategy.”