Do Maryland Politicians Support Syrian Intervention?

Congressman Chris Van Hollen said he supports a limited intervention in Syria.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen said he supports a limited intervention in Syria. Patch file photo.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen said he supports a limited intervention in Syria. Patch file photo.

By Whitney Teal 

Maryland’s Sen. Ben Cardin (D) was one of the 10 senators who voted Wednesday to punish Syria’s President Bashar Assad for reported use of chemical weapons, The Huffington Post reported. Seven senators on the committee opposed the measure. 

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee drafted a resolution that would authorize President Obama to bomb Syria for up to 90 days. The scope of the strike would be limited and would not allow American troops to deploy to Syria. 

Lawmakers and public officials in Maryland were split on the issue of U.S. intervention in Syria, which has been in the midst of a civil war for about two years.

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D)

"I think all of us need a clear understanding of what it is exactly this mission would hope to accomplish - and why should we believe that the sort of strike being advocated would accomplish it," O'Malley told The Baltimore Sun.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D) is undecided, a spokeswoman told The Sun.

Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-Dist 8) told The Washington Post that “the overhang” of the Iraq war will affect the House of Representatives vote on a Syrian intervention. 

Van Hollen said that he supports limited intervention to “prevent the Assad regime from using chemical weapons again so that you don’t have the lose of lots of innocent lives in Syria and you don’t erode the very important international prohibition against the use of chemical weapons.”

Congressman Andy Harris (R-Dist 1) said he would vote “no” at this time. An excerpt from his statement:

The decision to engage militarily is one of the most serious a member of Congress can make, and, although at this point I would not vote for military intervention, I plan to examine all of the evidence before making a decision.“

Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Dist 3) said on Labor Day:

“I’m sympathetic with the president’s instinct on [attacking Syria],” Sarbanes told Maryland Reporter. “We know you and people across the country are war weary,” both “weary and wary” of more foreign military intervention.”

Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-Dist 5) supports intervention. An excerpt from his statement released Sept. 4:

“As the process moves forward in the Senate and House, Congress should authorize limited, but decisive, action that leaves no doubt that the use of such weapons will be met with grave consequences.”

Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-Dist 7) released a statement, including this excerpt:

“In this case, we must understand in the clearest terms the objective of a strike against Syria.  We must understand how we will achieve that objective, including whether allies will join our efforts, and how long it may take.  We must understand, as best we can, the risk of collateral damage, including civilian deaths.  If our objective is not regime change, we must understand how we will measure success, particularly if civilian deaths using conventional weapons continue or even increase after any U.S. strike.  Finally, if we do not act, we must understand the ramifications for the Assad regime, the Syrian people, and our own nation. 

Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-Dist 4) and Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Dist 2) have not released official statements on a possible intervention in Syria.



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